The son-poem begins /

By these pastoral lines :


‘ I follow my oxen over Coellarnod dale ;

the last sun dallies at the line of ridge /

is dilated across sky , as exhales a single

breath more than held by lungs .

I turn North to follow the lung Aurora ;

I turn the beasts , blank , without eyes ,

North , toward the flaring Aurora ,  ’


This is a poem to son ,

which , of all the givens ,

all the givens to me ,

I have learned / and sang it ;


I sang it first

below a mobile , below no light ,

under the

father’s palm

was my forehead sweating

inside .


This is a poem to son

remembered by my only son .

This is remembered by a son ,

me ,

[ my father , in a different , perhaps

transfiguring , light ] ,

whose brow angles on the same line

as his ,

over the tree-line , curving

to a starry point ‘


Before this song was ever / sung ,

The son exhaled the breath of this

Lip to eyelid hypnagogic kiss .


‘ So very young then

but not

dogging my giant’s steps

in a circle—

alone , gone ,

now ,

( dogged by a brother

with a mitt and a ball )

on a wooden dock by rodents half-rotted,

at Crystal Lake,

of Newton,

in Massachusetts,

in winter,

in December,

in snow,


I peed until the utmost emptying

of everything

into the water,



the world renewed by this crossing ,

a Sun Dance ,

a Wet / ’


My whole body, in this Wet ,

is concretely described /


in this,


the line,

at my own angle

towards sky extending,

gradually becomes obscure,

first in the circling trees

and then at an

uncertain point—


my own poem , in this ,

in ecstasy

and in history

( the inside self finding itself out ) .





This poem of sons said to me once ,

as I sang it

to him / who :

‘ . . . The light inside the eye is from

inside the I


/  And :

Are these specific dispensed units condensed

forms of the structure of my complete self

father ?

[ . . . and they say children are /

and I say I am

a glade


This poem is now ,

in age / the ‘ wondering-not-evil son


from what is not-me th[e]y retain ,

but what have th[[y accrued from me

passing through ,

knowing those portions better than I   ‘


below lid ,

where knowing eye , closed ,

inherits a scene of signs , such as :

By the front-door ,

How on the hook my jacket hangs

and is

uneasy with

itself .

I ask the poem , today , What son

is father ease

e l ?

and what with his langue ?

Who is not / slower ?

they [ , the oxen ] sang ,

[ [ a phonetic yet knowable poem  ,

of all the kids


‘      rambling down the valley grass

to a river between two steeps ,

to oxen uttering their murky milk

into the sable stream . . .

and my father listens there

and I bother to listen to him

tell me how he listened to his father .  . .

giving only [dog ] ear but to the oxen who speak ,

to the milk which speaks / is understood ,

and to the stream  . ‘





This is the poem becoming , now ;

This is the Wet /


What son is father’s easel not /

What son is not his father’s bell ,

clinking inside the breast /

is not the grass


and blank ,

out of the brook

occurring /

Where is th[[y mother ,

mine ,

son /


Where is thy ,

Thine ,

‘    And what greater calamity

[be]falls a notion than the loss of worship ,

the loss of a river

and sure on that tongue , agile

in the crease of the valley ,

like a dog lapping the river Jordan

to let me out

from under / it ;

who ,

bearing the clay jars and trumpets ,

on the cloud-trumpets blaring ,

breaking the clay jars in the palm

of my own hand ,


will let me out from under / it ,

will lap the water as they did ,

will glide through the glades ‘





This son-poem , all dogged

out and slim ,

revealed ,


God /

I ,

slim ,

Now / out in the mountains somewhere ,

below no ridge ,

blind ,

tagging oxen

with this intemperate steel ,

with this song /

as hot as his


by kerchief in fever

da[bbe]d ; he [ prays at the altar

by the river

for father

to Exfoliate / me for to Irradiate :