Tallman


The sun has been quenched by the sea.
Tallwolf waits, in the hills--there are
spatters of flame on his tantalum pelt.

Soon, the moon will break free of the clinging earth.
Soon, the hills will be free of their fear of the moon.
Warm air floods the hills.

Grasses whisper, urgently, beneath the moon.
I am crouching, upwind of the wolf, in the high grass, in the hills.
I remember a pillar of smoke.

In the shadow of the pillar of a bridge, lies the shadow of a man.
I remember standing, silent, in a broken circle by the sundial.
I remember weeping, warm wind on my cheek.
I remember drowning in eucalyptus oil.

Tallman is standing in eucalyptus shadows,
indentations in the ground beneath his feet.

From the hills, a pair of moons is drifting seaward--one, above
the horizon, one below. Tallman sees the moon below.

Soon, a man will come across a woman in the moonlight.
Soon, this man will uproot flowers for her hair.
He will scatter flowers at her feet.
He will touch the indentations in her eyes.

Hills might burn.
Hills might split apart.
Moons might rust, might fall from the sky, might rise from the sea.

What hour is hidden by the tall man's shadow
stealing moonlight from the sundial?

Tallwolf waits in the hills.



JDP 96/10 (revised 97/02,12)

Where I live, October is probably the weirdest month.
This poem is a collection of real October events that have
disturbed me, or frightened me, or saddened me, or given me
pause for thought: the Loma Prieta earthquake, the Oakland Hills
firestorm, a lunar eclipse and an encounter in a eucalyptus
grove with a wordless stranger.

The episode with the tall wolf (OK, coyote) happened on a
fire trail in the Berkeley hills. There is a sundial on the
UC Berkeley campus. Also on campus is a weathered bronze statue
of a beautiful girl with hollow eyes, The Last Dryad
by A. Stirling Calden (see Fall by Sara Berkeley
written around the time of the earthquake, in her book
Facts About Water, Bloodaxe Books, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, 1994,
for another reference to this statue).

Copyright John D Porter © 1996, 1997



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