2 poems by G.C. Waldrep

Vicus

Barningham Moor


roadkill hare

in thin dress

borne of glint


& yet

distilled

semiquaver


breathless

pearl-

essence


takes care

of the tremor

rain gilds


& cleansed

fused

among choirs


chastened

slippage,

your tongue


you sieve

you flinch

crowd scene


the innocent

taste

deep


in the lung’s

blind taper

metobelus


prodigal

in almslight




River Bytham


Myrrh will not grow here, nor lavender, but willows, yes

here in the paradise of willows

I seize your harp & hurl it into the current –

Splayed by the imaginary, it evolves new wings

& played first by fresh, then by salt, only then by blood

Imagine the first men to hear that unearthly threnody –

looking up from their pollen counts

& dendrochronologies, their variable apparels

(it must have been a season like this, some ingathering) –

Taken captive & borne away, the flood

recedes from the documentary, merely glacial, a Babylon

brings geology forward through time

to greet us, hands wet from fishing in deep water

catching everything in nets, except that vanished psalm –


_____________


G.C. Waldrep’s most recent books are feast gently (Tupelo, 2018), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the long poem Testament (BOA Editions, 2015). Waldrep lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where he teaches at Bucknell University and edits the journal West Branch. His seventh collection, The Earliest Witnesses, is due out in November 2020 from Tupelo (USA) and Carcanet (UK).