Tuesday, March 8, 2011

So much do I remember now:
the pulse of obedient hearts,
hot tongues licking
the night; and I heard,

like a dry wind over leaves,
the scaly rustling of reptiles
coiling and resting . . .
All turned in the lamplight

eyes that never turned from mine
in their bright interrogation
(for I could see them,
and yet they were not there).

And I would speak, my hand
upheld to shield me,
when the shutter clapped
and my lamp blew out—

(was it a natural wind,
or a spirit-breath
lifting the leaves
of heavy trees in the night?)

From "In the Sleep of Reason" by John Haines (1924-2011). The complete poem is here.

Haines's obituary in The New York Times.

A Tornado in the Wilderness, Thomas Cole, 1831

1 comment:

Perfumeshrine said...

Gosh, that's just beautiful! I clicked over to the obituary (thank you) and gained an insight on just why that is: living things instead of imagining them I guess provides a vivid recollection to put them down on paper.