We came upon a pale landscape plain
Made paler by the moon, white past
The white of death with bushes white,
Upon which horses roamed, whiter than the
Whole of what we saw.
For most of night we were a silent crew,
Tired from too many mountain passes,
Descents into forgotten valleys, then up
Again toward snowy peaks that gleamed
Like teeth and drifted white with snow,
Borne by the coarsest wind
That tore into our skin and face for days.
Yet here, upon this night, the landscape
All seemed careful to our eyes.
We knew that we belonged to another world
And took a curious comfort in our own
Shadows. It was as if we walked upon
Detritus of some senseless time, that archeology
Could not undo or yet explain.
Still there was a sweetness there that
We felt resembled eternity or what
We thought eternity might be. It trembled
And looked to protect secrets.
Our dreams and half-dreams flooded
With so many yesterdays we could, at times,
Move only by following echoes and paths
From one another’s memories.
These places did not depend on us
To reckon their distances and plains.
We finally trusted that the heart would
Know the way, bring our sweetest bliss
Back to our stories and our now frozen lips.
And so, we traveled on, imagining ourselves
Cold historians, transforming all we
Saw into fantastic tales that we
Could tell to one another, hoping
That each one would tell us who we were.
* * * * *
“Trusting That the Heart Will Know the Way” ©2014 by D.R. Wagner, from The Night Market [Crisis Chronicles Press]
D.R. Wagner is the author of over twenty books and chapbooks of poetry and letters. He founded press : today : niagara in Niagara Falls, New York, in 1965 and later Runcible Spoon (press) in the late 1960’s and produced over fifty magazines and chapbooks. He co-wrote The Egyptian Stroboscope with d.a. levy in the late 1960’s. He read with Jim Morrison of the Doors in a legendary reading with Morrison and Michael McClure. and has read with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Al Winans, Viola Weinberg, d.a. levy, E.R. Baxter III, Ed Sanders, Anne Waldman and many, many other poets over the past 40 years.
His work is much published and has appeared in numerous translations. He has exhibited visual poetry with the likes of William Burroughs, Byron Gysin, Ian Hamilton Finlay, bpNichol, bill bissett, J.F. Bory and John Furnival in venues ranging from The Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, at the Louvre to the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
He is also a visual artist, producing miniature needle-made tapestries that have been exhibited internationally and are included in numerous publications and museum collections. He is, further, a professional musician, working as a singer-songwriter and playing guitar and keyboards.
Teaching Design at the University of California at Davis since 1988, he also teaches in the Honors program at the University conducting classes in Poetry by Design. He continues to design interior carpeting and tapestry as well as write, perform and publish poetry regularly.
He currently lives in Locke, California.