Rage, rage against the summer fires
that sunder heaven from the earth
where black clouds rise above the den,
when darkness not the light
gives way to darker thoughts
of her who leaps
beyond the smoke and haze,
where stars ignite a solitary flame
on that far horizon of this green maze.
Her deer strike eyes
frighten as the headlight’s flare;
stunned and weaving – stone hoofs
fall above the ruddy tundra,
collapsing around that curve
that brings us here: three small
white wooden crosses
set against a treeless knoll.
Gone, gone the days
she framed that smile
against the blue,
brought sweet nothings
from the clueless wind and laughed;
now only the wind remains –
a howling down this canyon wall
that even I, the last remaining member
of that tribe cannot recall.
I stand here overlooking
this great emptiness
before I, too – if only
in my mind, leap beyond
the black eye’s piteous fire –
a salient darkness casting its cruel gaze
over the green hedge of our bleak world.
– Steven Craig Hickman ©2014 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.
Note: do not take the persona here as mine, I’m objectifying from thousands of miles of traveling across these great United States the unknown tribes of dead whose only sign that they existed are small white crosses that exist on the side of roads in memory from one end to the other of our country. Reading obits and other things across the years one remembers so many stories of loss… obviously in this one I’m echoing that great poem by Dylan Thomas whose “Do not go gentle into that good night…” haunts its rhythms… so many of the dead wander in me I sometimes overhear things. I think behind most of my poetry is this secular vision of Dante, but instead of visiting hell I’ve learned to visit our strange histories like some dark progenitor of the madness we’ve become… for me even if transcendence is a illusion its one deep seated in our cultural inheritance and one that will not go away willingly even for such a secularist as I. When one writes poetry these ancient ghosts of time play havoc on our secular presumptions, and they will not lie still in that darkness like silent victims; no, they return on those unlucky days – what the Athenians used to celebrate as Apophrades, or the return of the dead; I take the word from the Athenian dismal or unlucky days upon which the dead returned to reinhabit the houses in which they had lived (Bloom).