The Peacock Feathers and 3 other poems

The Peacock Feathers

Whose eyes fanned evil from the house, petrol
Blue at the edge of green, the lapis on the lawn
Of the Raj, now we drink tea at summer’s end
In a pinched house where a man has died, you’re
Something from Beardsley above the gas fireplace
And pilot light like comets
Caravanned you gypsy bird all indigo and empress
And we in the penniless grief of bad luck search
Your shimmer for portents — three feathers
In a council house under rain, mother and two
How did you come here, strange bird
With your seven jars of woe
Keeping your phoenix watch,
Easter bird when death struts in the garden

Lightning, at Last

Between the Hindenburg and Mary Shelley
Awaiting lightning’s white snag
Ahab and Walter de Maria, the sea

One strike in an ocean of air, the masthead
The antlered stag in the water of a dream
Echoing with Leviathan and Polaris
Submitting to the deep charge of being

Born in an age of Pisces and Aquarius
On the narwhal spike of bliss and bombs
Flowing lava of clouded genius, patient dread

Of error’s strike from a moonlit womb
Between the Devil and Saint Erasmus
The winding horn of a rocket freeing
All souls of charges, one last illumination.

Shambhala Mountain Center

It is like being inside the body of a bee
The thrumming of this temple
And I am watching without watching
The Buddha, big as a bull

Elephant breathing the pressure of silence
That is never silent but booms full
From the hollows of his golden skin
Like Kong in his cage, only peaceable

How wooden virgins weep wax
He is moving before me, which is to say
        He cannot be 
It is merely me 
        Breathing
In this sap 
And honey 
Body

Sorrow

At my sapling wrist
A sparrow picks, urging this
Unwelcome tenant climb down
From consciousness

The sky is rigged with clouds
Ground all hawthorn heeled
Better to suspend, hang
Like the moon that hags the peaks—

–James Reich


Poetry Writing

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