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Ornamental Motif

 

Why is it, if you strike an emerald

A hammer-blow, the gem

Will wear about its crown a diadem

Of fine, white flour?  Why

Do crystals lose their color?  Lazuli

And turquoise ought to craze

To sky blue veins, not cloudy passageways

Like cobwebbed cracks in glass.

And if white paper, like a looking-glass,

Reflects all light, a book

Should show your face.  But you can't overlook

That clear rain turns to snow,

A lens will cataract, an undertow

Of liquid jade will run

Beneath its breaking whitecaps.  Williamson,

Why are you sitting still,

Picturing settings from the windowsill,

A hand beneath your chin?

The window will become an onionskin.

Each semiprecious pun,

Each sentimental jewel you fastened on

Is frangible as glass,

And every crevice is a sheer crevasse.

That much is crystal clear,

As glaring as the powdered souvenir,

The crime scene's grisly clue

Of broken spectacles, reminding you

Of windshields going blind

In starburst faults.  Though you are disinclined

To speculate on this,

Even the lives on which you reminisce

Shall fracture like a gem,

The sunlight scattering in all of them.

 

Greg Williamson

 

 

From The Silent Partner, Story Line Press,

1994.  Reprinted by permission of the author
and Story Line Press, Ashland, Oregon.


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