Three Poems By Robert Graham 

GRASS ATTENDS EACH CONGREGATE LEAF

Grass attends each congregate leaf,
sodden heap and hill,
scratch-raking earth’s wet belly justifies belief
each year cold dark rituals kill.

Leaves drop sighing at trees farewell
to hot season’s fun,
échappé, tight pirouettes, pas de deux, all fell
jubilant, fearfully as one.

Earth’s press a million years forms coal,
dust-crushed leaves and bones,
bog-buried, mud-ice tombs, subterranean soul,
grass reclaims cemetery stones.
the new green shoots were bolted

The new green shoots were bolted to the floor,
separate in their rows, sacralised
with holy water, by the clothes they wore
identical, all cross-hypnotized.

Young flag leaves bore their raw novitiate collars,
ripening cobs dressed up for winnowing,
tossed in the air as chaff these wretched scholars,
like well-ploughed soil, groomed for harrowing.

The bruises spoke in Latin at the Mass,
no rod was ever spared. It came to pass
young bodies fell to grief where no one knew
the site of Golgotha, except some few
who staggered, bleeding, outcast, spirits flayed.
What hath God wrought? Nothing. All men made. 
mounted the lighthouse metal

mounted the lighthouse metal 
                         spiral clanging
up to sensual silence & a long sea view
(dropped the teasing underthings) 
                                                              hanging
flags of white surrender as we drew

the heat bits nearer, rode a rising tide,
splayed a risen leg, a grasping hand
                          guided, guided, locked in sea slug slide
(the light rotated once came back to stand)

where open mouths breathed heat staccato sighs
(two rush-thudding hearts & gasping wheeze)
& all the ships that strayed too close to shore
blasted horns in dinning feral roar
at heads thrown back, 
               a buckling of the knees,
& giant Neptune rose, stared in our eyes.

Robert Graham is a retired professor of English Language Education at the University of Victoria, BC, Canada. As well as publishing numerous scholarly articles and book chapters, his poetry has appeared in both print and online journals such as The Lyric, English Quarterly, Fireworks, Scottish Left Review, West Ward Quarterly, Island Writer. A former vocalist and rhythm guitarist in various rock groups, he lives with his wife Lori and their cat Lily in Victoria, British Columbia.

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