Poetry / Poets / Writers / Writing

Two poems by David Chorlton

Moth to Moth


Through a window open to the pines
the night air flows to cool
a room when everyone has gone
to bed, and left a single
reading lamp to burn
with wings tapping
inside the shade: fingernails attempting
escape. No fingers.
Outside, the dust has settled

on another day. Along the lonely roads
that cross land occupied
by ringtails, foxes, bobcats
and badgers, the occasional vehicle
passing appears
to them as an animal wilder than they are,
with astonishing eyes,
and when the flash has gone by,
moths are flakes of moonlight
drawn to the yucca flower.
As surely as darkness falls

and someone prepares for the morning,
a moth will come
to whomever waits. Here is seed
for the finches, scraps for the deer
and orange halves
to feed the orioles. Only moths
don’t eat, which leaves them needing nothing
from us when they arrive where we are:

the hunger world
where wanting never ends.



The Wanderer

                  (to be read with Renga, for piano and cello, by Josh Landreau)

Our wanderer moves like the mist,
as the mountain moves to meet him
where he stops to view
the granite through
a loop between his forefinger and thumb
and he writes:
                                    Long is the path
                                    that enters a cloud
                                    and makes a ring
                                    around a distant peak.
He is discarding all
that weighs him down,
beginning with the extra shoes,
then the books he carried
to read by candlelight,
and all the unnecessary
tin pans and bowls, before he empties
his mind of its burdens:
                                    The darkness makes friends
                                    of those who accept it
                                    without seeking distractions
                                    from fear.
Wing across sunlight
a hawk pulls shadows
from the rising trail
that winds above forest and turns
into stone where the wind
scrapes it clean
with gusts so sharp they cut
even the thread binding memory
to a conscious mind:
                                    To stand at such a height
                                    shared only with raptors
                                    is to balance on the dizzy
                                    edge of vision.
His breath fights for space in his chest
as he clears the height where aspens
are laughing through their leaves.
Another step
and he would seek a foothold
on the atmosphere
where his mind already rests.
                                    Rivers reaching for the far
                                    horizons, flowing in all seasons.
                                    sometimes as water, sometimes as light


David Chorlton has lived in Phoenix for more than thirty years, after spending his early years in England and Austria. His most recent poetry collection is Selected Poems, from FutureCycle Press, drawn from more than thirty years of work.



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