La Madrugada

Paul House

Whatever cities are brought down,
I will always bring you poems,
and the fruit of orchards I pass by!


Behind mountains heaped like bedclothes,
   the sun drips thin as a wafer
and, almost reluctantly, it throws
   a last, long, gangling leg over
dusking vineyards. Glowing golden
   beside the rutted, brown, obedient
fields of heavy earth, they shoulder
   a passage towards night and silence.

The town throws up a mist of lights.
   The last remains of sun are strung
out across the sky like a flight
   of birds. Woven rusted iron.
Light seen through a cracked stem of glass
   A tiny knot of stars gives place
to the city and holds it fast.
   A struck match over an upturned face.

The cathedral bells sound transparent
   by day, yet at night, they deepen
to significance. It is so silent,
   then, that bells can drift like open
arms or laughter through city;
   that a sudden yell will walk the streets
like a blind man in search of pity
   or a place to stop the sound of feet.

Around the houses darkness swills.
   It runs a thread between the hours
that stampede and unhitch themselves
   from moving wheels. A thunder of stars
are now shaken across the steep
   miles of sky and bend toward morning.
And shrugging off an age of sleep,
   I stand here, like a huge flag, yawning.

 

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