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Cette Obscure Clarte Qui Tombe des Etoiles.

 To measure it, falling as if seed by seed across The furrows, The
horizon suffuse, or
 A spillage that increases its meaning, As matter becomes shape, Defined
hillsides, the marigolds
You like, the gardens burst With stargazers and heliotropes, this Light,
coming as it does
Without relenting in its travels, A sentence itself, moving Toward us,
with its unknown
Intentions, this light swirls, its great clouds Falling as veils between
this world And some other, perhaps dream
Or what might have been said, So familiar, we have been Here before you
want
To say, the lake lies there, The wood just to the right of the hills,
Where vineyards tier
Down, the surface glazed And without movement. At full noon, what would
the stars be
But black seeds, lost memories, The soul's anatomy, Outside the
reach of examination.
 * * *
Think of the upsurge of birds from the shorn fields, like seeds thrown
Across the sky, then dipping, the brush flicking its pigment, the gray
 crusts of sky-- The straw plowed under, ice intrusive in mud,
the world is obscure And takes our breath--is there a word for this, for
what is always sliding,
 tremulous?
 * * *
Crossing Long Mountain, the snow began, the air finely stippled,
doubt's
 gouge, And to think we are to see past this, a geometry forming
into perspective
 lines, Trees crisp cut-outs, branch to branch a chain to hang
on my daughter's
 wall, The light thinning, the beginnings of certain new forms of
destitution
 begin to set in.
 * * *
We are living on the other side of god, and that is not to argue for a
 return, or swerve Back, but to think of what gift there is now,
what tares up, what
 sanctuary there is After the first word, when others come, all
refugees, bearers of their own Promises, the snows early this year,
shadows casting their thin blue
 across fields.
 * * *
Think of birds as an up-welling, a bulge above the coarse thickets,
rising As in one breath, the terror of moving as one, each eye, if we
could see
 them all, Dilating, the terror then also of moving in solitude,
the space between
 gulfing Space, then the pull back, toward the amongst, the
midst, to something
 not falling.
 * * *
Looking now, after months of being away, the lake like a screen from the
 Edo period, Gold fog from the cold and rising sun, lifting and
paling, the lake's far
 side white And green, for a moment outside sadness's claims,
a sheen over the
 fieldwork And dirt tracks, manure lagoons, the cut-out fields,
white and running
 back from the lake.
 * * *
Snow lies along branches: such clarity deceives, a certainty there, and
 then not, Wanting to know the whole of it, the pulse and release,
the whole circling Movement of which we see only an arc, finite though
with no fixed
 number Of points; the snow slides off, nothing comes back as it
was, nothing.
 * * *
The balance between void and matter Tips steeply toward that emptiness
that must lie before
Each birth, as though in that void the conundrum of Something that must
be there is what
Turned it all inside out, some exfoliation, as in a painting Of Poussin,
the dark tree first a stain of absence, turns into
The branching of compounded leaves, each shimmering, Or flecks of birds
in another painting rising above the furrows,
Gray-white, the blanching of August's light settling over
Everything, a white dust as though blown from bone-yards,
This color, dust-white, turning hill and curve of ground to sky, Turning
it all the same. The history of landscape, when Ruth
Met Boaz in the fields, gleaner and landowner, cerulean sky And city at
the foot of ocher and gold hills, to this
Obscure clarity from which stars--like birds or seeds fall, Burnt to
cinders, so that if we were to wake in the night
Following this, there would be nothing, the sky swept clear, Our guides
lost. In that other world, a man hefts a sheaf of wheat
To his shoulder, another plays the pipes, the light moves across The
waters and hills; in a garden there would be a nightingale,
In that other world, where ruin or plague were not admitted. We stand
looking at it, its picture, a memory we are still shaping. 


JAMES McCORKLE is the author of Evidences, the recipient of the 2003 American Poetry Review/Honickman Award for poetry. He lives in Geneva, New York, and is an adjunct professor of interdisciplinary studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
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Author:McCorkle, James Donald Bruland
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jul 1, 2007
Words:794
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