Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Title poem from my book RADIANCE

. . . each time a human being’s desire-energy leaves his body, 
and goes out into the hills or forest, the desire-energy 
whispers to the ear as it leaves: “You know, one day you’ll die.”
                                                                                     Robert Bly
                                                                        News of the Universe

To this undulant end of land,
washed into drumming caves below me by the sea,
I come to watch the sun leave.

The ebbing light makes all around me swell
with colors of parting intensity:
the purple asters glow like sea urchins;
the stems of the faded thrifts seem to bleed.

The pelicans, seagulls, and terns are not moved
as I am to a certain lovely sadness in this hour—
they swoop and glide and feed.

I think of what Bly wrote in his book
on poems of twofold consciousness.
I like where he says the whispered words are good
(even if the message makes you mourn)
because they mean a certain consciousness in nature
has connected with the same awareness awake in you—
though I’ve never heard those words whispered to me
in moments of profound beauty.

My melancholy is born, I believe,
from my inability to dissolve completely and become
the indescribable radiance of this beauty.


Friday, June 22, 2012

from the recently released anthology OCCUPY SF—poems from the movement

Occupy California
Virginia Barrett

Point Reyes National Seashore

The field mustard
is occupying the land
of the historic ranch
with a brilliant banner
of yellow—urging an early
American Spring.

Crows, in their black,
Zen monk robes, stand
atop the fence posts
and impart:
            “let flowers grow
            in all our hearts.”

Having survived
an earlier eviction,
the Tule Elk graze
on the hillsides
            of loving undulations
above the rousing surf.

Cows, black and white,
conscientiously chew the cud
of the indigestible news
while in Tomales Bay
the oysters form pearls
to pay for better schools.

Mountain lions organize
in the night, stealing
it back from the monopoly
of electric lights,
                        (and the stars are staging a sit-in).

                                    Coyotes circle
                        to devour
            the corporate carnage
in the misty rain
that is washing
this earthly paradise,
                                    this California,