Haize in the fields

The night is my eyelids; the sun seared it with the moon.
I leave my roof in a dream of Christ, my Fountain.

Why disturb my devotion with Messiah’s return?
There are so many spirits; there is so much dry lightning.

The crying child – give her the wine we hid in the box spring.
Reivers seize our cattle in fall, but they leave the dark grapes.

The slow moon condenses like a raisin, like the shriveling
Earth.  The guards lift their eyes at my song in the white fields.

The radio died, and we named the stars again.
We bottle our news and wait for the ocean.

Nothing grows to term, and His cup is never full.
Since we spilt the ice, the stiff dregs slit their wrists for rain.

Can I love Christ?  Here?  The monks say I can.
I glean the white fields for a vision of Him.

We are cut to pieces.  When they bury us,
will our children grow whole in the dark, like potatoes?

He comes! they shout. His voice is like many waters!
The sun winks, I say, and turns mirages into shadows.

You are a lover and no prophet, Haize.  Had you sung
back in Al Gore’s day, your words would have blown as dry as his.


1 comment

  1. Peter
    And thanks, Dale!
    September 29, 2007, 10:56:59 AM EDT – Reply

    Thank you so much, Lucy, …deb, and anni!

    …deb, I didn’t see anything close to my area on the list. I live in a D.C. suburb, so, while the feds don’t spend on us, they also usually avoid reminding us of the cost in natural resources and scenery our lifestyles here run up.
    August 30, 2007, 5:15:16 AM EDT – Reply

    the way the imagery twists and turns…i am amazed at the way it all takes the reader into the world of the poem.
    August 29, 2007, 6:59:20 PM EDT – Reply

    Thanks for the insight, Peter. It added to your poem, even though it stands so well on its own. (Very cool that you heard the Basque pronounciation! Wonderful.)

    And thanks for your comment about the Hanford site meeting. Come to find out there are many sites being considered. There may be one in your neck of the woods. I have a (rough!) draft meeting “report” on stoney moss with a link to DOE if you want more information.
    August 28, 2007, 8:43:28 PM EDT – Reply

    Rich and strange, disturbing.
    August 28, 2007, 8:48:19 AM EDT – Reply

    Marvelous, Peter.
    August 26, 2007, 10:48:30 PM EDT – Reply

    I changed the severely over-thought first stanza a minute ago, reverting to an earlier draft.
    August 23, 2007, 11:20:23 PM EDT – Reply

    Thank you, everyone, for your generous comments!

    ?deb and split ends, Haize is just the name I give my narrator. I like the name because it reminds me of the names Hafiz and Ghalib, both of whose ghazals inspired me. I discovered what you discovered about the word, ?deb, and then I met someone yesterday who speaks some Basque. He told me that Haize is pronounced like Americans pronounce “Isaiah” (except with a leading “h” sound). That made it even better!

    So Haize stands for nothing, really. The last stanzas of Hafiz?s and Gahlib?s poems sometimes include a reference to the poets? names, and they sometimes address themselves in them. These narrators sort of break character, and they turn at least my expectation of a conclusion on its head. While I like the ghazel?s sometimes-arabesque design (in my case, interchanging hope and despair), my poem builds Western-style (or at least uncovers Western-style, maybe like Browning) instead of inviting the discovery of some more ineffable, hidden center. So it?s not much of a ghazal.

    But what I like about these old ghazals these days doesn?t come from understanding what the old symbolism all means. What draws me is my own experience of standing outside a very intimate conversation and missing almost all of the meaning. It?s like my watching the nuances of my parents? faces in conversation and not understanding their meaning when I was very young. Or it?s like watching a great French film without the subtitles.

    Dick and Dave, I?ve never read Canticle For Leibowitz. I did name this “Canticle” for the first couple of drafts.

    Dave, I had the same feeling you mention ? a narrative cycle of poems. Working around a story seems to help me break out of opacity a little. I have no plans for any poems. But your comment fascinates me because I had the same feeling.
    August 23, 2007, 11:01:47 PM EDT – Reply

    Fledgling Poet
    Wow, this is so rich and complex…I can read so much into each and every phrase. Thank you for a beautiful read!
    August 23, 2007, 6:41:46 PM EDT – Reply

    (Damn – Haloscan just ate my comment! try again.)

    I too was reminded of ‘A Canticle For Leibowitz.’ Very intriguing, and I’m glad to see you taking these kinds of risks. I’m eager to see more from what must be at least a narrative cycle of poems, yes?
    August 23, 2007, 3:39:33 PM EDT – Reply

    powerful, provocative and imminently re-readable!
    August 23, 2007, 1:06:38 PM EDT – Reply

    Anguish and hope all mixed up together. A terrible brew but hope is a healer. The emotional honesty here is striking.
    August 23, 2007, 12:12:51 PM EDT – Reply

    Mmmmm… a gorgeous and vivid piece. I’m going to have to bookmark this one to digest more fully. Thank you.
    August 23, 2007, 12:07:19 PM EDT – Reply

    this is amazing.. i have never read anything like it.. omg… i am in love with this…

    i must save your site to my reader so i can read more more more…..
    August 23, 2007, 10:16:17 AM EDT – Reply

    split ends
    I agree with the other comments—very rich images. I love the way the last line changes my understanding of the poem, but like Deb, I’m very curious as to who (or what) Haize is?
    August 23, 2007, 10:15:12 AM EDT – Reply

    Riveting. So many lines and phrases catch and pull at my mind and heart.

    Help me, though. Who is Haize? I only find it as a Basque word for wind. Metaphor or “real”. I’m intrigued.
    August 23, 2007, 9:29:37 AM EDT – Reply

    I’m really glad to have encountered this blog. That poem demands slow reading. Each line calls me back again, a little like walking a labyrinth. Thank you.
    August 23, 2007, 7:19:49 AM EDT – Reply

    This is very powerful & effective, Peter – a dystopic vision that brings Walter M. Miller’s ‘A Canticle For Leibowitz’ to mind.
    August 23, 2007, 7:07:11 AM EDT – Reply

    It really bing to mind the human fragility. Such clarity. Thanks for sharing this.
    August 23, 2007, 5:10:10 AM EDT – Reply

    desert rat
    Some neat turns of phrase in there, and some very rich images.
    August 23, 2007, 4:11:02 AM EDT – Reply

    A very thoughtful post. Vivid and reflective.
    August 23, 2007, 4:01:34 AM EDT – Reply

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