KISSING AND HORRID STRIFE

(D.H. Lawrence)

I HAVE been defeated and dragged down by pain
and worsted by the evil world-soul of today.

But still I know that life is for delight
and for bliss
as now when the tiny wavelets of the sea
tip the morning light on edge, and spill it with delight
to show how inexhaustible it is.

And life is for delight, and bliss
like now when the white sun kisses the sea
and plays with the wavelets like a panther playing with its cubs
cuffing them with soft paws,
and blows that are caresses,
kisses of the soft-balled paws, where the talons are.

And life is for dread,
for doom and darkens, and the Sunderers
that sunder us from each other,
that strip us and destroy us and break us down
as the tall foxgloves and the mulleins and mallows
are torn down by dismembering autumn
till not a vestige is left, and black winter has no trace
of any such flowers;
and yet the roots below the blackness are intact:
the Thunderers and the Sunderers have their term,
their limit, their thus far and no further.

life is for kissing and for horrid strife.
Life is for the angels and the Sunderers,
Life is for the daimons and the demons,
those that put honey on our lips, and those that put salt.
But life is not
for the dead vanity of knowing better, nor the blank
cold comfort of superiority, nor silly
conceit of being immune,
nor puerility of contradictions
like saying snow is black, or desire is evil.

Life is for kissing and for horrid strife,
the angels and the Sunderers.
And perhaps in unknown Death we perhaps shall know
Oneness and poised immunity.
But why then should we die while we can live?
And while we live
the kissing and communing cannot cease
nor yet the striving and the horrid strife.

A poem by Marilyn Darley Williams

OBITUARY: WHAT IT DID NOT SAY

Before the word aerobic
was ever heard, she brisk-walked
three miles up a hill by the orchard
at sunrise and marveled.
She could identify thirty varieties
of apples, blindfolded,
by their smell.
She could hula-hoop but not limbo.
Though she had skin
like burnished leather
she was called beautiful.
She was not survived
by children of her flesh,
but by hundreds
of the heart.
Her gift to students
was confidence.

When disease took her eyesight
a day at a time,
she still recognized the essence of oak
and willow, a child by a cough
or silence.
She saw the light
at the end of each tunnel.
She knew the source
of the light.


Her book is for sale

THAT DAY

by A.R. Ammons

You came to see me one day and
as usual in such matters

things grew significant–
what you believed, the way you

turned or leaned: when
you left, our area tilted, a

tile, and whatever
opposes desolation slid away.

FRESH WATER AT THE GREAT SALT LAKE

by Marilyn Darley Williams

(for Valene)

The Holy of Holies is found
between the reeds and bulrushes
of the fresh water marshes.
The yellow-headed blackbird avows
his adulation in song,
while she skitters from reed
to branch. Pelicans glide by in pairs.
Avocets and black-necked stilts,
with long spindle legs,
cut through water like cross-country
skiers. And there, beyond the parting
water, a single post looms.
A lone cormorant perches,
his ebony neck elongated,
his massive wings extended
like black vestments.
These are holy waters
over which he takes flight, his dark
shadow bestowing a benediction
in the language of the earth.

SUMMER OF THE MOOSE

by Marilyn Darley Williams

Summer evenings, at dusk,
moose are found in the marshes
north of the cabin.
They stand neck-high in water,
their pendulous heads submerged,
all but those mule-like ears,
twitching above the surface
like radar scanners.
Up with the heads! Throwing
water and moss, racks draped
with sedges, mouths chewing
water lilies like cud.

We heard how a bear came upon
a cow with her calf
at the crossroads. The moose,
ears laid back, mane erect,
charged into battle,
her slashing hooves bringing
death.

One night a bull moose,
antlers three arms wide,
blindly stumbled into the garden.
From the screened porch,
we watched in horror
as the giant bull crumpled
in a patch of purple flax.
Massive head jerking,
his wait cut through the stillness
like a scythe. Moose sickness.

A tiny worm, the size of a hair,
digested with marsh weeds
had worked its way to the brain.
A shot from Father’s gun
robbed the parasite
of victory.

Summer evenings at dusk,
moose are found in the marshes
north of the cabin.
They stand neck-high in water,
foraging lilies and eelgrass,
antlers draped with sedges
and innocence.


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