Sunday, May 8, 2016

Eric Robert Nolan- Two Poems

"A Muted Iris"

It’s oak-​​encircled –
its periph­eral syl­van ring an ellipse
of slate-​​gray, great, aged faces –
all those old oaks
appear to arrive at quo­rum. One’s knot
opens as though its own low
voice might slowly
roll call, softly,
rolling over the rar­efied order of con­so­nants
of names in a Native tongue.
Faces in aging, wind­ing wood –
a coun­te­nance inhab­its
each tree in uneven sur­faces,
rid­dled in rough bark:
aspects out of oak, and
thicket-​​hidden vis­ages.
The grove around us rounds
into a spec­tat­ing crowd.
All the inscrutable oaks
are yet tense with mes­sages:
to our touch
bark ascends to braille,
brit­tle­ness to myth,
tim­ber to apoc­rypha,
nar­row­ing grain to gain­ing nar­ra­tive,
and when the the wind will twist the trees,
epics arise in their sighs.
And, within, it sits.
It is a muted iris –
a coil of old stone
darker, almost the color of coal, its gray shade makes
a stark and dri­ving, dark, ash eye.
Flames flare in the fallen
leaves at our feet –
North­ern arborvi­tae, com­mon apple –
hot hues in incan­des­cent tem­pest –
the rac­ing reds of con­fla­gra­tion, yet
innocu­ously soft.
Autumn is always infer­nal here.
At first, it’s non­de­script –
the old stone ring on which
your eyes and mine
now sit.
And it yet hints of ancient import.
Ever the ash-​​eye keeps
a vigil as sure as the trees.
What Pre-​​European
pur­pose did it serve –
an eye at an apex of earth
a muted iris on a hill
where the World looked back at God?
Did indige­nous fin­gers
thrill to arrange its core
where, then, racon­teurs
laughed after hunt­ing, or
did an Algo­nquian, alone
and grate­ful for the run­ning stain
of a red­den­ing hare in his hands
make metic­u­lous his
grate­ful­ness for the hare –
a per­fect cir­cle, a nev­erend­ing line
as the hare’s last breath, its soul, rose
in an ether of steam from its small maw?
I am reminded
that the lover in Auden’s “Evening“
described Time
as a rac­ing rab­bit.
Autumn is always infer­nal here.
Or was this a con­se­crated space
where natives once arrived and ringed
under their sen­tinel oaks, their bows
and arrows aside, to sac­ri­fice
the whole of a great stag?
I pic­ture one
all churned up in an earnest inner rap­ture — arms upraised –
the scent of the burn­ing stag smoky-​​rich and blind­ing,
high on that Autumn eve –
as red blood runs to sear­ing black in the deer.
Autumn is always infer­nal here.
Lithe beside
that cir­cle of old stone
an unruly laven­der
marks your mod­ern coat.
Shed­ding it, your slim
arm is in con­trast — warm,
lithe peach and ancient gray.
Under my
dark eye
your pearl legs are whiter for
all Fall’s angled rus­sets, reds and bladed bur­gundies,
sharp cop­pers, burn­ing roses,
sear­ing cerise and
blind­ing ver­mil­ion.
Autumn is always infer­nal here.
My hand races
to you red­den­ing hair
as its auburn turns
at sunset’s kiss, to dark­ened scar­let.
“Dear,” you call me.
I’m muted, then,
by the alabaster cups of your small hands,
one to my gray­ing hair and one
alight­ing my lips as softly as smoke.
Resid­ing then, in your eyes
are burn­ing irises.
We are both
innocu­ous and soft.
lengthen into antlers.
races as a hare.
Red leaves and stags, red hares and trees.
Rap­ture and old stones.
North­ern arborvi­tae, com­mon apple.
Autumn is always infer­nal here.
© Eric Robert Nolan 2014
"Amanda II: A Haiku"
Irises arrive
by mail -- Amanda
thanks me for her poem
 (c) Eric Robert Nolan 2014.
BIO: Eric Robert Nolan’s debut novel is the postapocalyptic science fiction story, “The Dogs Don’t Bark In Brooklyn Any More.”  It was published by Dagda Publishing on November 19th, 2013, and is available at both in paperback and for Kindle.  Eric’s poetry and short stories have been featured by Dagda Publishing, Every Day Poets, Every Day Fiction, Illumen, Under The Bed, Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, Dead Beats Literary Blog, Microfiction Monday Magazine, Dead Snakes, UFO Gigolo, The Bright Light Cafe, Aphelion, Tales of the Zombie War, The International War Veterans’ Poetry Archive, and elsewhere.

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