are pressed into crevices of limestone.
Their limbs, their bones, are smaller now,
pebbled or smoothly pleated. Their shrouds
have attained the quality of paper.
Tresses? Eyelash hair? These have become
slight as wind, but brittle. Removed from
village life, they do not care if animals
inquire into their secrets, hoard seeds
or feathers in the louvres of their ribs.
Nights dark as ink, then dawns
splayed through blue fingers of pine.
If it were here and whole, the heart
would think this was a nest.
“Let heaven and earth be my coffins…” ~ Chuang-tzu
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.
OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES
- Landscape, in the Aftermath of Flood
- A Carol
- Little Winter Song
- Because it is years since I last saw you
- Landscape, with Remnants of a Tale
- En Crépinette
- My mother turns 78 and texts
- [poem temporarily removed by author]
- [post temporarily removed by author]
- Dark Body
- Chalk Circle
- Private: To the unrepeatable life, the poet writes
- Tarot: False Spring
- Making Dinner, I Hear Rostropovich on the Radio
- Field Notes
- Road Trip, ca. 1980
- Gold Study
- Ghazal Par Amour
- White List
- Dear noisy stream gurgling in the distance,
- First, Blood
- Rock, Paper, Scissors
- Thread and Surface
- Diorama, with Mountain City and Fog
- Preparing the Balikbayan Box
- The Jewel in the Fruit
- Landscape, with Geese; and Later, Falling Snow
- Landscape, with Threads of Conversation
- First One, Then the Other
- To Silence
- Morning, Cape Town
- Empty Ghazal
- High in the hills, the dead
- Dear unseen one,
- Saturday Afternoon at the Y
- Dear Epictetus, this is to you attributed:
- How have I failed to notice until now
- Field Note
- Dear shadow,
3 Replies to “High in the hills, the dead”
I love this.
I love it too.
Luisa, I’ve just been reading Emily Carr’s “Klee Wyck,” about her visits to the Haida villages on the Pacific coast as a young woman (the name of the book was the name the Indians gave her — it means “Laughing One.”) She went there to sketch the totem poles, and often speaks about the graves perched in some of them. I learned of this as a child myself, and a lot of my feelings on discovering that came back to me as I read Emily’s poems. It’s such a difficult idea for most of us — of leaving bones out in the air — and yet somehow I like it. I always felt privileged when I came upon bleached animal or bird bones in the forest, in their natural grave of leaves.
Response to Luisa’s poem, “Her Upanishad” is posted at http://ambitsgambit.blogspot.com/2012/02/her-upanishad.html