- The glow outside our window is no fallen star.
- It is futility itself. It is the fear of night
- a neighbor burns with, nightmare of a stubborn child.
- I dreamed of chasing crows in a dark of sea fog
- and no wind, the chill smell of kelp and changing things,
- knowing the sea’s edge and the sand met where the fish lived.
- I saw the waters running out to meet the water
- coming in, the small crabs lifted off their claws.
- I saw the trysting place of cormorants, the cliffs
- of guarded nests where eagles watched like sated kings
- alive, alive at the moving sand clock of the sea
- where all’s dissolved, where earth itself is taken down.
- Cut blossoms floating in a bowl of water
- are what they are. Someone saw and gathered
- the pale white and yellow stars and leaned
- intimately down. To know the fragile blooms
- with breathing color is to be reborn
- astir, astray and happier than before.
- They float to survive now, a mystery like the dead
- wake up to in the cradle of the night,
- flesh of frangipani sweetening the bed
- between the mown grass and the Southern Cross,
- and if the memory bleeds at such a loss
- it’s only the cost of living with desire.
- So let the sphinx moths hunting nectar there
- where none exists be go-betweens for life,
- purposefully duped. Let the perfume rise.
The Great Changer
- Without a song to find a lover by,
- some days she floated like a driftwood log,
- beached at high tide beneath a dismal sky.
- She was not Salmon Woman swimming under fog.
- She was not Echo, nor was she Talking River.
- She was not Thunder and she was not ever
- the mouse who changed her skin for woman’s skin.
- She was not Milky Way. She was not Moon.
- She had to move a mountain with a spoon
- and never ask forgiveness of the sun.
- When change came it was a gradual dying.
- She was not Owl Woman. This was not flying.
- But she was Fox and found her gnawed off limb
- and the Great Changer came. And she welcomed him.
- The baby’s bawling and the old man’s laughter
- rise from the center of the same I am.
- Say it to windows, doors. Say it to rafters
- on rivers of light. Say it to the breaking dam.
David Mason was Poet Laureate of Colorado from 2010 to 2015. His books include Ludlow: A Verse Novel, The Country I Remember, Arrivals, News from the Village, The Scarlet Libretto, Sea Salt: Poems of a Decade, 2004-2014, and Davey McGravy: Tales to be Read Aloud to Children and Adult Children. Mason divides his time between Colorado and Oregon.