width=61 height=87> Voracious Verses
Summer / Fall, 2013


Leonore Wilson


Franck's Sonata in A Major

Like a long-tailed star, lamp beating beneath your skin, the violin—
        waves, white-caps entombed, always since you heard it first,
imagined Swann hearing it to in a drizzly cold café in Paris, or
        Neruda lighting a cigarette or biting an apple as if it were a note,
both embracing the shoals of music, writer and composer enjoined,
        sort of love-cycle—violin and piano intertwined, the cry of each
how it calls and calls again like a suitor at Penelope’s window, the unraveling
        and raveling of the loom, this undertaking, distillation 
like the animal sense of loss when my mother played it with all the weight
        of Tellemachus in her fingers, this longing to be safe
and whole, thick sorrow edging there, the wanting-to-be-listened-to,
        half-mated desire when she’d turn down the stereo
just to hear the strings, the croon, while she sat at the white keys,
        and then the resting between movements, quivering pelt of silence,
brookwater held between stones while the lodestar of language gathered up,
         the blending of instruments—morning moon against sunrise,
o this music that idled in you all through childhood, unsortable mix
         of sorrow and desire, gene pool that echoed and ached, unsettling

yearning, bleating memory of it in your mouth like the host, albifying
         the shadow-stricken earth, swinging like a censer, suffusing the air
with its gnomic wisdom, this pitch, blue milk of the indivisible, your own private Troy.
         Chagall’s Animals
In the surreal blue over Vitebsk’s village roofs,
         bright orange fish with wings
and snakes worthy of thought, animals
         of the painter’s childhood, lambs brought
to slaughter, martyred cattle, butchered goats
         those he caressed before their death
and asked forgiveness so the wounded were not
         wounded, or condemned or abandoned,
beasts tossing about in the heavens like rose petals
         over Adam and Eve, Calvary,
and the raising of Lazarus; blue ponies mounting
         the ocean’s pinnacles, carps singing,
herald angel birds and seraphic horses brilliant, noble.
Hear the word of God in paint like the dawn’s troubadour
          piercing the heart, that tenacious dogged flower….
Animals of stable and barnyard, of unattainable myths
          soaring over little votive chapels
which rise like the voice in verse, in the green song
          of hope, full of zeal and triumph
over Esau and his birthright, over Isaac’s near sacrifice
          and Hagar’s casting forth
over the burnt up land where light overtakes shadow,
          over rifles and bayonets and headlamps,
over the executioner and gangs of orphans, lovers
          floating on pools of water,
and pallid orphans, beggars, tricksters, over charwomen
          and virgins, fish with hovering sails, 
vipers and turtledoves, genderless creatures of every species
          docile, released like fragrance, sweet incense
all with kindly Mary mother faces….

© 2013 Leonore Wilson



Trees are light-bearers
and signature of water,
all is opulence in blossom:
squint of minnow, grip of ferns,
tightly-feathered hawk
that soars over the still-untitled
meadows. If in grief,
consider the separated calves
motherless, exposed, bawling out
in moonlight. Happiness
is a knelling incorruptible—
the breath of life blue,
uneven rain, unconsummated
birds gibbering
among the susurrating grasses.
Consolation’s in the eyelash
petals and bits of stars
detectable now in heaven.
Some wounds cannot be salved,
some monstrosities
out speed us, but wilderness
can minister, uncode
the hieroglyphic insistent
resting point
of music. 
Thoughts chafe for a little
while, sorrow’s heavy
weight, the heart
may be pulverized by things
too doddering to mention,
but the tiny beaded seam
of every filamentary
root line, every grainy
loam between this boundary
and the next is like
the beloved’s face, not
freighted by shadow
or emptiness, but swabbed
by silence
and song, drink of it—
each footnote
and detail, everything
splendid you are privileged
to witness.

© 2013 Leonore Wilson


BIO: Leonore Wilson is on the MFA advisory panel at St. Mary's College. She has won fellowships to Villa Montalvo and University for her writing. She has taught at various colleges and universities in the Bay Area. Her work has been featured in such magazines as Quarterly West, Pif, Third Coast, Madison Review, Laurel Review, etc.

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