Two Poems

Beverly Dahlen

Cumulus

clouds this winter
and spring rains taken
down now into
the ground.

City starts up
through the fog
lost in mist
down to the ground

through the branches
of the pine always
there cityscape
gray or cut out

of the sky tough
or brilliant glare
wall-eyed monster
staring there.

At sunset blank
roses or golden tints
in stripes of clouds
across the sky

as they looked
in Giotto's time.
And then the purple
blue of night and

Venus clear-eyed
in the west. But those
heaps of rising clouds
this year towering

blue-veined above
the towers of the city
as if it were enchanted
somehow and not

the blazing city of
disaster, posthumous
city, city of ashes
risen again and again

granite and steel and
tumbled stone. Now
the clouds lower and
it rains again. Blind

city. Fragile and lost
so often lost and then
is built again. This
must come to elegy:

to keep in memory
those unknown
roughly buried
beneath the sand

and those known
honored or
dishonored whose
motives just or unjust

have become part of
the language of this
place. Its myth
its name for the saint

who would have
denounced it if
saint he were
surely.


May 15-17, 2010





Scapegoat

The story carries the burden as if it were a scapegoat driven into the desert and turns again in its wandering returning. The sentence is erased but if it were true it would return again as another and find its way unknown through the town. It hinders one. Its disguise betrays one. Its face stares from the window of a passing car weeping. If the story were true another reads the burden as if it were a mirror and turns again

returning to an unnamed town. Finding one's way in the dark the story deceives one. It leads one in this way to a truth which had seemed to be unspeakable. The truth of the story is hidden and densely wrapped as if it were buried in a rocky tomb. It bears the burden of death and is beaten and driven into the desert and rises and returns again. It is that passing face which changes everything.


January, 2008



Beverly Dahlen has published four volumes of the open-ended series A Reading, the most recent of which is A Reading 18-20 (Instance Press, 2006). A Reading: Birds has been published as a chapbook by Little Red Leaves "Textile Series" edited and designed by Dawn Pendergast. Ms. Dahlen has also published widely in numerous periodicals and anthologies and online in Little Red Leaves and Jacket among other sites.



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