Their sound is gone out, belts out a choir
visible and audible here in the transept
North East West South: acronym, NEWS
gone out andante into all lands
turf and twig. (An OED or google game
[trans — across; septum — enclosure],
as this item: “The pediment of the southern
transept of [Killington] is pinnacled,
not inelegantly, with a flourished Cross.”)
and their words I keep reminding myself
unto the ends of the world swept
aisles and isles going and coming either way
coming and going, monument and document.
It was the winter wild
when we found ilex verticillata,
a deciduous holly, growing
spontaneously in the
sophisticated taupe landscape.
Of its yellow-scarlet berries, Asa Gray
wrote: “nutlets smooth and even.”
The holly’s leaves were down, dead,
and mashed by rain. Why
didn’t birds go after those berries,
in this poem which
ends with a line by
Creeley: the story is true.
Information delayed. Information withheld.
Saturation with info, useless and helpful blended. Plot
not “completed.” Size and significance of events
unemphatic: far too much attention paid to
tiny subjects. Option on funny noises.
Order of info homogeneous. Litotes,
a Greek god, Litotes of Lacedaemonia. Why isn’t this boring?
Do I need this info? It changes all the time,
doesn’t repeat itself, it only almost does.
What is a “conditional honorific”?
Randomness and inductive method, both at once.
“So what?” is a valuable question to ask. Frame story,
like Taming of the Shrew, but W.S. didn’t
finish the frame! A is really a pretext for B. B is what counts.
My father said sine die
meaning no set date
—We will adjourn sine die—
and pronounced it synee dye.
It wasn’t trig, it wasn’t
dying. A lawyer he
was and my mother
a master of landscape
architecture (it was called).
She said sanseveriana
rei vieri, pronounced
It’s a restaurant plant.
My husband was a canon
lawyer who said Sede
vacante nihil innovetur;
this meant if an office
is vacant, nothing must
interfere with the next
incumbent’s freedom. In
grade school I had to take
lots of Latin, so I memo-
rized Gallia est omnis
divisa (I said dee-wee-zah)
in partes tres, quarum
unam incolunt Belgae ….
Belgians? Shouldn’t Belgians
be Belsh? By analogy with
Welsh? For both are
somewhat Celtic, aren’t they?
* “Poem Beginning with a Line by Milton” and “Title not Given” are collected in To Drink Boiled Snow (Wave Books, 2015; wavepoetry.com).