National Poetry Month – Robert Fernandez (April 3)

Sometimes you have to work at reading a poem. You have to open up a dictionary, you have to read and reread. Like any other art form, there are times when a poem will ask more of you. This is an example of a poem that, I think, requires a little more attention.


by Robert Fernandez

At once this dragnet of cousins
Whips its way into your presence saying
None of them among us. They are
Oracles on the court of midnight,
The tight filigree of a mind or your
Splashing around in, your pandemonium
Of copper graffiti inexpertly put up.
They make weapons of furled hands.
“We will walk, but our bones will carry
Ribbons of lead, or we will, like
Acrobats mill-headed in 3s (3 blades,
3 hips, 3 tongues), answer to what comes
Before, what comes before?” Eleousa,
Master of Dark Eyelids, eye opening
Like a fennel seed, you are generous
Or are you not, do you shore up and
Wink at the soul? What does the soul say
Other than “my divorce from . . .,” “tan
Holiday . . .,” “smoking crystal in teak rooms . . .”
But should have asked, “What do you
See?” The sun a sequence of fans, a bridge,
Only so exquisitely cabled as to make us
Still—shall we fall
Or travel between bridges
Among the robust, sane clouds,
A face cut from smoke, heat, and light?
The sun, dancing in a vial, the initial
Memory of what it was to be born—
Doberman of a sheer-white universe—
To school out—the audacity of rising
Without name or color to new rooms,
New youth, fruitful, born singularly
To precise moments not in epiphany
But duration—as under new weather
We become—in action, receive—our
Bodies uncasked like umbrellas under
The flamingo-red light of the racing day.


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