Sunday, July 17, 2005

Parlor of the Duchess

Is it in the rhythm of the heat that the
Dark parlor of the Duchess undulates?
Sitting in the shadow she sometimes
Shouts, sometimes murmurs so that dark things
Dance as they always have but not so
Comet-like as now with wagging tails sowing
Susurrant light sashaying through the short
Swirling summer curtains.

Light that will go to join the stars
Only to be visible on those nights when
Mars shows its fat, full redness in the
Glowering sky like a bloody mist, a
Rust-like tint not lively like the color of a
Tintoreto redhead but more like the reflected
Light in Nero’s ancient saurian tears as he
Played for the party of the hate that he had
For the great that he wasn’t. He let the violin
Murmur and shout savoring the saving of his
Peptic voice for even more caustic times,
Peccant as a tossed down angel floating
On the crest of waves of flame, tottering
But not consumed, buoyed up but without
Purpose.

Hour glass light that is tied to time, slowed
Down to something that is measurable, even
Creaking and struggling as it moves, given the
Air but cursed with clumsy wings and the need to
Perspire into flight to be safe in the most
Dangerous of ways, always a struggle except when we
Try to comprehend because it is so slow and
Sluggish that it can’t squirm away from our
Gaze nor slither away while we search for the
Lenses and scopes we need to see with, the
Glasses we’ve misplaced but need in order to be
Able to find them, light in a time that is
Squeezed and narrowed and forced to go
Grain-like through a narrow space so we can
Count them like our restless sheep.

But now the Duchess needs no glasses nor
Even eyes for she now sees what she has always
Known without sight for it was that light she
Could see when she, as a scared little girl
Lying in the dark, squeezed her eyes closed
Really tight and the reddish blue dots appeared and
She began to look at them, petrified but
Calm as they became lighter and finally began to be
White and billowing like clouds, her clouds
Through which she could fly on clanky childish
Wings, careening and almost crashing, without having her
Eyes open or being forced to see anything she wasn’t
Prepared for. Her parlor is filled with that light
Tonight and surrounds her like the heat of the
Summer night. Not chastened and sent to hide
Until no one could see, but encouraged and
Sung to with moans and gurgles, the sounds from
Juices that aren’t being processes but stay
Inside her to poison her with the waste she
Creates by simply living.

Say goodnight, Duchess, if you really cared to, for
Around you the darkness burns as if to be
Consumed by that which seethes from you
As you sit relentlessly precarious to the edge of
Your day bed. Turn on no lights for they are
Not needed, a life and all its reminiscent clingings
Claws this air with gnarled talons, sparks it to
Fluoresce in the churning night, and is not afraid
Of closing doors anymore.

13 comments:

angel-A said...

Russell, whenever i read your new poem the first time, i wonder to see a process of how it has been born and created...
this poem carries an unbearable heaviness of life ;-)... "slow
and sluggish". this is how i feel it.

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi my angel! The weight of life increases with our growth in inability to support it. The process is slow. Life is winding down with some possible final fireworks. Thanks, as always, for your wise and helpful comments!

Sue hardy-Dawson said...

This is wonderful I have read it several times, it is so vivid and opressive an orgy of immages

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks Sue for your delicious and insightful comments. I am always greatful and fortunate to have them! Let's do a chap book together. What do you think?

Sue hardy-Dawson said...

Hi Russel I'd be delighted but what's a chap book?

gulnaz said...

i agree with sue and angel, there is an opressives sadness to it, like the darkness beneath a heavy dark cloth.

going to read it again now and sue and you publishing a chapbook together would be a terrific idea!

Gama said...

This extraordinary... You have such a way to express it well through writing.
Beautiful!!!
Like everbody else, I'm going to read it again and agian.

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi Sue! A chapbook is a short book of verse, usually for sale by the author (in the old days that would have been a wandering minstrel, playwright, or Gipsy). I think it would be fun to put one together.

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks as always Gulnaz! You are exactly right, this is a dirge sung to the dying. Even the lightest cotton sheet becomes a heavy dark cloth when it is a shroud. Thanks for your wonderful comments!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks gama! I am so encouraged that you and others are reading it over, in spite of its inherent sadness. Thanks, as always my old friend, for the great comments and encouragement!

Sue hardy-Dawson said...

If you can think of a way of doing it it sounds like a great idea

angel-A said...

good luck, friends!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks my Angel!