Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Fair in the Woods

The Woodsmen blow their horns, and close the day,
Grouped by some logs.  The buckskins they are in
Merge with ground's russet and with tree-trunk's grey
And through the color of the body's skin
Shift borrowings out of nearby birch and clay.

All day a mounted angel came and went
Sturdily pacing through the trees and crowd,
His brown horse glossy and obedient.
Points glowed among his hair: dark-skinned, dark-browed.
He supervised a god's experiment.

Some clustered in the upper boughs, from where
They watched the groups beneath them make their way,
Children of light, all different, through the fair,
Pulsing among the pulsing trunks.  And they,
The danglers, ripened in the brilliant air.

Upon a platform dappled by the sun
The whole speed-family in a half round clapped
About the dancer where she arched and spun.
They raced toward stillness till they overlapped,
Ten energies working inward through the one.

Landscape of acid:
where on fern and mound
The lights fragmented by the roofing bough
Throbbed outward, joining over broken ground
To one long dazzling burst; as even now
Horn closes over horn into one sound.

Knuckle takes back its colour, nail its line.
Slowly the tawny jerkins separate
From bark and earth, but they will recombine
In the autumnal dusk, for it is late.
The horns call.  There is little left to shine.
LSD, San Raphael Woods: 'Renaissance Fair'

(Thom Gunn, 1969)

Friday, April 10, 2009


There all the barrel-hoops are knit,
There all the serpent-tails are bit,
There all the gyres converge in one,
There all the planets drop in the Sun.

(W. B. Yeats)