Cambridge Book Review

[Issue #2, Spring & Summer 1998]

Canto 8 How rare

R. Virgil Ellis

How rare is what I seek? To reach
language with fuzzy logic
and music with dangerous odds
farther than music or language can reach?
As rare as a sea-turtle bobbing up to
find a bright ring around its neck.
As rare as that turtle lifting now
out of such a Pacific
showering glistening drops of language
that scatter down to the pitch and rhythm
poets were born for!

This gleaming terrapin arcs in air utterly clear.
No more the weighted fear built into the shell.
Now that long neck
stretches beyond the reach of soup,
the sea where everything sways in sorrow.

Turtle cranes all around the tide-washed horizon:
a pincer-shaped moon
trails geraniums in a long festoon!
There are verbana stars
and a huge wild calendula comet!
Flying fish thread through
alabaster and emerald hoops!
Porpoises playfully balance planetoids!
Lost caravans of Incas stream across a hurricane!
Flights of chanting condors swerve out of the way
of a blue '42 Diamond-T dump-truck
with me screaming in the cab!

Canto 13 | Canto 21 | Canto 59 | Canto 60
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