Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sonnets For Lily Yukon - 1. True North

The arctic tundra's microcosmic diorama in this ashtray,
this heap of ossification & flakes piled glacial in snowbanks &
        drifts: the
caribou antlers, the ptarmigan shit, the walrus tusks, spent
        Winstons—
which aren't unidentifiable marrow bones the carrion birds
        picked clean, Lily—

Go ahead & look out the window:
Polaris is up there reflecting a tangle of wire & uncombed hair
        & irreconcilable fractions:
the square root of dead silence—
which is negative one & this indoor blizzard: a snowdome aswirl
        with ashes

& I suppose before it's over you might ask how I managed to
        evolve as this
polar region that looks macrocosmically so much like a
        prospector's barroom—
a buffalo's savagely bovine eyes staring from the head hulking
        stuffed on
the wall remembering the ice age.
Just cut open my chest before you say goodnight that final
        Wednesday
before you step out into the infinite,
& you'll find this chunk of ice,
the pumps & springs it froze around.

Jack Hayes
© 1990-2009

11 comments:

Poetikat said...

There were so many images, both spectacular and subtle that really struck me in this magnificent piece, John, but I think I will remember this one first and foremost:
"Polaris is up there reflecting a tangle of wire & uncombed hair
& irreconcilable fractions:"

I hope one day, your work gets recognized for the true art that it is. Some day, in the future, someone will say, "Wow! John Hayes was one of the GREAT American poets."

John Hayes said...

Hi Kat: Thanks for your enthusiasm & your kind words.

Mairi said...

I'm with Kat on this one. I love those irreconcilable fractions, and the microcosmic diorama - diorama's are wonderful things and to have one in an ashtray, complete with ptarmigan shit, well, that's something. The square root of dead silence is negative one is the truest and most relevent piece of math I've ever heard of. This is wonderful.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Magnificently wrought and marvellous,John,heady heavy stuff.
How Have I not been keeping up with this blog?

John Hayes said...

Hi Mairi & TFE:

Mairi: So glad you liked this--in case you didn't see this in the "teaser" on RFBanjo, there are 5 more of these, to be posted over the next five weeks.

TFE: Thanks! So many blogs, so little time. I know how that goes--but it's always a pleasure to see you, cyberly speaking.

willow said...

Well, Kat already mentioned the line that reached out and grabbed me, as well! Chilling last line, too. Powerful piece, John. Loved it!

John Hayes said...

Hi Willow: Glad you liked it! Guess that last line is chilling in more than one sense.

Karen said...

I can only echo what the others have said. I loved the images in this from beginning to end. Can't wait for the others.

John Hayes said...

Thanks Karen--so glad you liked this!

Totalfeckineejit said...

Read these from 3 to 1.Doh!But still brilliant.The squre root of dead silence is a terrifying thought to me.

John Hayes said...

Hi TFE: That's the odd thing about blog "publication"--it goes backwards. Thanks!