Earth’s Damp Mound


Earth’s Damp Mound
for P.M.

I. February 1998.

That week it rained white petals
and loss completed its

turn, the words finding themselves
alone, without measure,

without force, and no body to compare.
Though strangers spoke I could not.

Is this destiny, an unopened
mouth filled with

pebbles, a pear tree
deflowered by the wind? The earth’s

damp mound settles among your bones.


II. Count the Almonds

What bitterness
preserves your sleep,

reflects the eye’s
task along the inward thread?

Not the unspoken, but the unsayable.

Curious path, curious seed.
A shadow separates

to join another, and in the darker
frame carries the uncertain

further, past silence, past touch,
leaving its hunger alert and unfed,

allowing us our own protections.


III. The Bowl of Flowering Shadows

Reconciled, and of particular
grace, they lean, placing emphasis on balance,

on layer and focus, on depth of angle
absorbing the elegant darkness,

a lip, an upturned glance, the mirror.

What light caresses, it may destroy.
Even the frailest may alter intent.

So which, of all those you might recall,
if your matter could reform

and place you back into yourself,
would you choose? Forgive me

my selfishness, but I must know.


IV. Requiem

Then, you said, the art of nothingness
requires nothing more

than your greatest effort.
And how, seeing yours, could we,

the remaining, reclaim our
space without encroaching on what

you’ve left? One eye closes, then
the other. One mouth moves and another

speaks. One hears, one listens, the eternal
continuation. Rest, my friend. After.


Prentiss Moore influenced my reading and writing more than he ever realized. We spent many hours talking, eating, arguing, drinking, laughing. Always laughing – he had one of those all-encompassing laughs that invited the world to join in. And it frequently did. Through Prentiss I met in person one of my literary heroes, Gustaf Sobin, whose work Prentiss had of course introduced me to. Those few hours spent with the two of them driving around in my pickup truck, discussing poetry, the Texas landscape, horticulture and the vagaries of the publishing world, are hours I’ll always hold close.

Earth’s Damp Mound first appeared in the anthology Terra Firma, and is included in my chapbook, If Your Matter Could Reform.


34 thoughts on “Earth’s Damp Mound

  1. How timely. I was out early this morning and everything was soaking wet from last nights rain, including all the garden beds “earth’s damp mound”. An early spell of warmth, an overcast, introspect day and yourwords to savor with my coffee. Thanks,

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Your posting of this doleful requiem is timely for me. The sting of loss, in some ways, never changes, but in many ways, of course, it does.
    Death is the transformative, revivifying aspect of life — one cannot be anything without the other (much like you demonstrated in your metaphysical triumph, “One,” that the *everything* is, because *nothing* is its very substantiation).
    As Clarissa Pinkola Estes wrote in her psycho-mythological masterpiece, *Women Who Run With the Wolves*, an elucidation of ancient archetypal wisdom, “Poets understand that there is nothing of value without death.” Certainly, such knowledge serves as meager comfort to those of us left behind — yet, when we follow our deep instinct to turn to the dead for comfort, reassurance, healing, so doing is unquestionably reanimating for us.
    Anyway, as you might guess, I’m currently working on my own, similar piece to honor a “lost” friend, and I see a lot of parallels between your deeply moving piece and mine. I just want you to know I am grateful for the sense of communion it affords me.

    Liked by 2 people

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