by George Moore

In a Portuguese Field

A dolmen by abandoned rails
that cross this terrible, empty field
in lower Europe, and the grave
toppled sometime in the first century
and near the rusted tracks
still ringing with murderous days
and some poor writer struggling
for words, distills a rude
and rudimentary history
and no one comes up from the farm
to see what the stranger is doing.
Some things so evil can never be
given in verse, or translated, or told
again in the same way. This
dolmen in an orchard has seen
Romans displaced by Visigoths
displaced by Muslims before the Church
took it all into its cradle. That act
of swift rewriting, he knows it,
decries it, confuses it
with his own poor truth.

Cow Swims to Safety

On her way to slaughter
she breaks free of the line
and we achieve a moment’s grace
swimming across Lake Nyskie
to the island

to escape the abattoir
our unconscious slaughterhouse
we break free and swim singing
you can be what you want
no need to die

and Mr Lukasz lets her go
(could not catch her anyway)
roaming the sands taking the surf
she dives beneath immortal waves

we surface on her back
whale riders islanders
for a moment on the old pastures
and rich potato farms

and then dive again
into the solitary deep
her homeland Poland
where the dead rise up to meet her.

The Hundred Year Old Man

I am the new hundred-year-old man,
bones white as glass polished by sand,

arms like the twigs of the dying rose,
lips as sweet as figs below a steeple nose.

I once was a boy, lost in the thrill of surf,
once traveled the world in a psychedelic hearse,

feeding berries to the birds in Kathmandu
and wine to the women of old Chengdu.

My eyes are like diamonds cut from the rough
out of the sockets of heaven, high enough

to see the fields of my years like a great desert
surrounded with forests full of living spirits.

I am here on the threshold of a fading world
caught on a thorn, in the rose’s first whorl.

The Parrot

            for Olga Orozco

Pretend to speak!
Go on, those words
you mimic are hollow
as the stinging nettle.

Yet you live a hundred years
outlive the best of us
in your cage, a factory
of lost voices.

You sleep in the jungle
and rivers run with your blood
and at night you grow wings
for in the darkness

you forget what is lost
and found again
by digging with your teeth
and setting it afloat

on the raft of your tongue.
You fly north to work collages
of yellow, blue and orange
of oranges and lemons

and the deadliest fruit
and yet no one believes you.
Your colors are the colors
of the sun which we

never recover
like needles and lips
prophecies and whispers
and the first bite of your Eucharist.

About the Author:

George Moore

George Moore recent collections include Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FutureCycle 2016) and Children’s Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015). Nominated for six Pushcart Prizes, and a finalist for both the National Poetry Series and the Brittingham Poetry Award, his work has appeared in Arc, Stand, Antigonish Review, Orbis, Valparaiso, Colorado Review and the Atlantic