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Telemachus before the Plow

telemachus before plow

It’s not so easy to simply stain the paper with lines of thought,
Nor make a will out of plain documents and verbal ownership;
The deeded properties behind the scheming eyes becomes manifest
With regrets, downfalls, the upshot of missed beats and rhymes.

One slip of the tongue, one false and irretrievable note,
And muses yield the field of action to furies, hungry as harpies.
No map can tell you where to go that first did not spool the loom
With what you know and where you live your life beyond the ink.

With sandaled foot on searing plains and hand on hilt, the spears
Will make their martial music, storytelling layers of bronze –
The shields will glitter like cats’ eyes at night – though at level noon
They’re catching fire in weary sockets and balanced battle lines.

What you look for is ordinary time, when all is feast and fast;
The famine of yesterday is the great ensemble of windfall today.
It’s not so easy to simply train the ear to speak or trace the sky
Across a piece of paper – easier to mark crows’ feet than corner sight.

What you look for are easy mistakes that turn to furrowed gold;
And always, always, the far distant war-drums inspire you to salt
Your fields in despair. The harrow team’s harness slips from around
Your shoulders. Each clever word lies, a child before the plowshare.

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