Elegy for Carl Daniels

Written during Carl Daniel’s wake
from the 100 year-old Oak which died
the same week he did.

Over the great rolling

Pacific waters came

The driven wind

Licking and skipping

Over the seminal

Pounding whitecaps

Inland

Inland

Raking roary furrows

Over rows of seeded pelicans

Kissing seasoned brays

Driven to the inlet stadium

Round Point Joe

Scaling sandstone rythyms

Higher and higher

Breaching round the birthrim

Pulling the cormorants into dervish

Driven

Driven

Into the cuts of rising cypress and oak

Running the dark-carpeted forests

Ignoring all words

Up

Up

Swirling in whirlwind

Sucking the seed of Great Oak

Into a dancing circle unbroken

Driving seed into the

Darkened

Waiting

Loam.

 

Father seed,

Mother womb

Inward

Inward

Ticklish dance

Inside virgin

California range

Raised underneath

Yet within

The shuddering pulse

Of the Pacific.

 

Dance of the New Oak

Unfolding

Unyielding

Radicles snaking

Young Fatheroots breaking

And taking the earth

Founding

Founding

A Spray of five young

Stalks begin to brood

Extending from the heart

Knowing and naming

Whatever the flinted

Barking trunk

Cannot glimpse.

 

Carved on each branch

Are the names of all

The Lovers

The Songs they sung

The sons and daughters

Whose humble fame

Framed  the surface

Of that expansive

Family name

Shuddering

Shuddering

Five heavy limbs remain

Outweighed

Stretching too far

Too far

From the heart of a trunk now dead.

 

Now Men will come.

Do not despise them.

Men must come.

They are coming

They are coming

Come to pull down the heavywood

Come to root up the tendriled histories

From a Century’s shadowed earth

Cutting a series of red-furled slabs

Still moist with November’s red rings

Still crusted with the dark brown-oak of Fatherwood

Down

Down

Three-fold cords

Bundled and

Stacked along the five family walls

 

When the cold comes

And the hollowness hearkens

Then comes the heavywood

Piece at a time

Laid upon the  hot harness

Of each hearth

Time of ashes

Time of ashes

Colors dancing above the drying centered rings

With hallowed smoke climbing

From the bellies

Of Five children.

The blackened brick, wood and fire

Form the Question:

Where do we go from here?

Where?

Now

The wind once again dances

Over a great empty space.

Outward

Outward

Miles away

Orphans drop

Their inevitable fruit

driven

driven

On the Wind which comes

When new seed is sown.

The wind has shifted

New lives will be formed

Their names will be spoken

Tommorow.

__________________

© 2018 Christopher MacDonald

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