Thursday, February 18, 2010

Poem by John Alter


As if, in an old house, there is a closet
which you open, almost by mistake

A raven, tall as a priest
and dressed in whatever clothes he could

in the closet, a suit from some other
century, black shoes polished
like mirrors,
gaudy suspenders,
a top hat

steps out

Without hesitation he creates
by opening his vast wings
a space large enough for the mountains
to form
the valleys
the farms with their many terraces
nomads and barking deer and the octave

When his wings close again
when you are left with the glint of his
the perfect satire of his shoes
when the octave owl is still and the barking deer
lay down on pillows of new grass to sleep
the nomads crawl into the suburbs
terraces revert to forest

with a wink of his eye
and the tapping of his impeccable shoes
you are alone
on the rocky hill at sunrise
morning crows opening their wings to the dawn
like prayer flags

You pray, you sing a song, you fall in love


No comments: