by Stephanie V Sears
The shadow of a storm
I advise you to sit still at this time
cat-like patient but alert
a secret even to yourself
served hand and foot by mystery.
Something refreshing is here
as green as an unblinking eye
on the brink of your instinct,
yet fickle, appearing intermittently.
When the cork oaks petrify
under their Rembrandt foliage
more Korgeegan than Provençal
in seeking you may be overtaken.
During the rituals between grass and forest
tuned to the prognostic of a downpour
the only animation you discern
are inscrutable auras and aromas.
Coolness has the bistered cast
of a Byzantine’s shuddering
spirit close beside you
shrouded in suspense.
The azoic and the sentient bond
in weather’s graceful embalmment.
Looking through its magnifying glass
silence restores you.
I advise you to sit still when
out of melancholy’s undergrowth
embraces you with occult shadows
the fascination before the storm.
In nature’s funereal enacting
of its own entombment
it lays your cheek gently
on your own sepulture.
I walk a corridor fashioned by a footstep,
beyond the elusive presence of one
I wish to catch up with,
weightless feet over parabolic floors
of a vertiginous globe
between figurative walls imprinted
with stark solitude,
roping in limbs of memory
held by vestiges of gravity.
Who then walks this wadded ether?
Through a lacquer silence still
hums a mood of life.
In lavish rooms so poised
I cannot help longing
to be someone I once knew.
Best are corners of intimacy
that guard objects, poignant
like the waning of a dear voice.
I contemplate the fire of remembrance
in a dragon’s iron wings,
the coral dew on evening’s sideboards,
the atoll puff of a cigarillo,
the greenhouse wrist tickled by a cuff,
the crusty smell of loaves conjured
by the figment of appetite
and the inhospitable truth
that I once lived here.
Outside, a flannel grey façade, kept
free from the snares of nature, looks
past me with a thousand yard stare.
A stream runs through sprockets of light
flowing by with cruel benevolence
and sweltering recollections
of summer relief,
deep dark river on puckered skin
in water’s cool dialect.
Were I to share stone walls
with the green attar of trees
and moss I would feel once more
the breeze of favorite places,
gateways that men forfeit to exist.
Pines black with evening
return to this same hour
ever shadows of themselves
in Odyssey’s lengthening twilight.
Artful immortality devises a language
common to the still ether of Olympus
and the tempo of the cicada.
The long-necked pines take off
in flocks from the cliff
in tandem with the cormorants.
The cove uncovers depths of transparency
wise with lucid flashes from
mullet schools that foresee
a kingfisher’s dive.
Acrobatic swallows sharpen the air
slicing out paths
between above and below.
Sounding, then anchoring,
pirate winds quiet down
and dissolve in the Circean haven.
The archeologist gone mad
We are people of felt and fur
on which fibulae and breastplates
of bronze and gold reflect
the nomadic course of the sky.
Across our chests the sheep’s horn
Well used as cup or call.
Without such references who would I be?
For among these broad keen faces
I cannot distinguish my parents’ features.
Around the fire we poke at freedom.
Nearby poplars shower yellow leaves
over the steely sinews of a river.
Beyond are reeds, honking lakes,
the fictile muscle of the tiger,
deserts where all conquerors have been
out-numbered by the proliferous stars.
The southeast mountains
poised like gods
raise Olympian fortifications
to which we oppose our plains
without corners or alternatives.
Running, loving, dying
in one momentous rush
led by light and the last dream
careless of time’s violence,
by day along the scent and rattle
of shallow streams, pursued
by wind that plaits the grass.
At night, from the disembodied remains
of those I can no longer see,
comes a silence that eludes distance
weaving nostalgia into speculation.
Am I Sabina, Larissa, Bermet?
I roll up the scroll of memory
to conclude my confusion.
I am Oulkhout,
rider of a pomegranate horse
in whose shadow trots
the giant sheep dog of the Turk
who shares my camel stew and sour milk.
I race with my own blood stream
a million mysteries blown in my face.
I unlock a thousand locks of fortune.
Chronicler of the wayfarer and
accountant of countless planets
who in the darkness between them
asks the compulsory question:
who are you?
About the Author:
Stephanie V Sears is a French and American ethnologist (Doctorate EHESS, Paris 1993), free-lance journalist, essayist and poet whose poetry recently appeared in The Deronda Review, The Comstock Review, The Mystic Blue Review, The Big Windows Review, Indefinite Space, The Plum Tree Tavern, Literary Yard, Clementine Unbound, Anti Heroine Chic.