More revisions in process. These are two of a group of poems written during & after visits to the Urals between 1989 & 2000.
At Balezino Station we disembark in silence
under the great arch of night. First
whispers leave breath hanging, shining
like bright smoke. The old moon
leans through cloud. A silver wind
blows the stars about like spray.
A tide of trees floods the half-dark,
sucks at the line’s edge. Motionless,
we diminish, here at the junction between
two hemispheres. Behind us bloodless territories
of turned soil and domestic waters
and beyond the taiga, the first forest
to come tumbling out of the young dreaming
of the world. And now the thin edge
of an eastern wind brings tears of resin,
a scent of green disorder, a cataract
of leaves and berries far ahead. Darkness
crowds us back onto the train. Rocked
but sleepless, we sit and stand by night-
curtained windows, watching the dim images
of ourselves watching the flying trees.
BIRDS ON THE CHUSOVAYA RIVER
High flat sun, sour light
draining like whey
through muslin cloud.
This bird’s geometry – square-winged,
turning on the axis
of its hunger, reorders
the sky. The berkut, summer eagle,
sideslips into the treeline.
Where the river croons
over stones, where we drink
from clear channels, this bird
scars the water’s skin.
The swallow, stippled in
the ribbed water, turns
on a wide wheel centred
in a blue orbit.
Night’s sheet is torn
at the corner. This bird
has a knife in its voice.
It slides on a wire,
the owl, from maple
to beech, a yellow light
in its eye and acid
on its tongue.
Night rain boils in
the river. Young moon
hooks clouds into ribbons
and rags. This bird, the
heron, rising from the reeds,
climbs on its long arms
from dark towards light.
Balezino pic from: hewasthin.blogspot.com/