JAMES BENTON: Two Poems

O Time Thy Pyramids

She dug for earthworms, planted
Amaryllis near the barn, cultivated
Daylight when the bad boys came to her
And she never sent them home.
For her alone, they spoke in tempered tones
And reached for manners as they reached for seed.
She gave them tools to dig with,
Voice to their voices, ears to their hearing.
She finished when the work was done,
And then it was time for them to go.
They were safe with this labor of bulbs,
The loam that stuck to her soft gloves
Stuck to the bad boys’ canvas shoes.
Their shoes took rich earth from her barn,
Pieces of the one who never sent them away
Who showed them how to plant crocus,
How to plant even after she’d gone—
Their safe tiller in the damp earth—
They became like the best of the boys
She never sent away, the one
She kept and cultivated until she was gone.

Oceanus Pacificus

and see  how our long churn recedes

beyond the eye to the goblet rim
who can doubt its curvature

the wavering chop the interzone
of brine and breath luminescent
even below the sun

how broad the chasm of this pinched
perspective we believe our power

enough to preserve us

to deny our nature to fall and
all our effort to remain afloat impaled

upon the grace of an indifferent
sea our boiling tail the trace of our transit
hisses until the last ear

sinks below its unstill yawning
gape hubris rides the slippery spine

world without witness to discover

for once if beyond here dwell dragons


by James Benton

October 27, 2010 | Posted in: Fiction | Comments Closed

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