Library of Cultural References

  • Library: Cultural References in Poetry

Joni Mitchell

[1994 ]
ASIN: 0253208645

Water falls white on the white
washed stones, fingers
light on piano or the spine
of a lover.
Sobs and exultations,
the open mouths and eyes of astounded
houses, doves
dead in mid-air, a scatter
of leaves like torn astrologies.

With her voice full of swords and blossoms,
salt and blond honey, voice
like the ruffle of air off the tip
of the heron's wing,
she sings the scrawl of blood
and the fiery scripture
of nerves
written under the skin.

We've slept like mountains, but now
drum and saxophone swim
in our bodies,
hook-jawed salmon that leap
the black keys, dying
for the drowned genital stars,
their fine bones singing like tuning forks.

And there are guitars
overflowing like drunken goblets,
shiny sea-turtles dragging
inland, heavy with eggs. There are
sparrows dreaming in the cradles of her wrists,
and roses, and ashes, and oceans
collapsing on empty beaches, sliding
back helpless and rising again.

(Contributed by Deb Messling )


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