To think of something from the natural world.
A wild strawberry pale and cool in the natural winding
leaves? And what about a thing from space, friend,
a thing from space with flames seen falling
high above the saffron-colored flags
on slanted poles? I was seized by a sudden fit
of doubt and apprehension. The ground is strewn
with oleander, oleander struggling through frost,
the first day of the so-called Great Awakening,
the fitful turning in their beds, a supernatural
waking from the Great Sleep, the Great Dream.
The flame trees lift their heads, earthly
banners lifted toward the moon, toward
the small and ghostly world
where all things broken or forgotten lie strewn
in fragments for bewilderment or gathering.
Is a line of verse something from this world,
our world that kills its children, that bewilders
us with lapis rain, its apples red blown glass
or fiberglass, or tin, or similar transparencies?
All things being equal, these are equal too.
And the checklist for the toolbox of the alderman,
the inspector of the turbines, includes a compass,
binoculars, the key to the station enclosure,
and a sandwich. It’s not so much to ask that he bring
these things along, is it, along with a love for the wind
and the green-winged lunate zale? In a world
of blue arches and crumbling bridges
where the pupa overwinters, the stairway
leads us down to the water. Count
the notches in the key, and throw it
into the neutral waters, and winter plays
its game of patience, so Virgin Juliana,
author of the cloud, can come, in blue gown
spread with stars, bearing quills and carrying
clocks of ice in sun-burst patterns.