[for John Coltrane]

 

Passage

 

 

Words

            after all

are syllables just

and you put them

            in their place

            notes

            sounds

a painter using his stroke

            so the spot

where the article

            an umbrella

            a knife

we could find

            in its most intricate

            hiding

slashed as it was with color

            called "being"

            or even "it"

 

Expressions

 

For the moment just

            when the syllables

            out of their webs float

We were just

            beginning to hear

like a crane hoisted into

            the fine thin air

that had a little ache (or soft crackle)

 

            golden staffed edge of

            quick Mercury

            the scale runner

 

Envoi

 

            C'est juste

            your umbrella colorings

dense as telephone

            voice

            humming down the line

            polyphonic

 

Red plumaged birds

            not so natural

            complicated wings

                        French!

 

Sweet difficult passages

                        On your throats

there just there

                        caterpillar edging

                        to moth

Midnight

                        in the chrome attic

 

 

            --Barbara Guest

                        from Moscow Mansions, New York: Viking Press, 1973