Horse and Leopards, Stuart, VA
Maurice Manning reading for the Cortland Review
Smog, "I Break Horses"
--3 poems by Jane Cooper
The Blue Anchor
The future weighs down on me
just like a wall of light!
All these years
I've lived by necessity.
Now the world shines
like an empty room
clean all the way to the rafters.
The room might be waiting for its first tenants—
a bed, a chair, my old typewriter.
Or it might be Van Gogh's room
so neat, while his eyes grazed among phosphorus.
A blue anchor.
To live in the future
like a survivor!
Not the first step up the beach
but the second
then the third
the wingprint of the mountain
over the fragile human settlement—
If you want my apartment, sleep in it
but let's have a clear understanding:
the books are still free agents.
If the rocking chair's arms surround you
they can also let you go,
they can shape the air like a body.
I don't want your rent, I want
a radiance of attention
like the candle's flame when we eat,
I mean a kind of awe
attending the spaces between us---
Not a roof but a field of stars.
What the Seer Said
She said I would see the future,
that is to say, my father,
through an ophthalmologic device.
That man was no good, she warned,
but I persisted: No one,
no one has done me any harm.
The machine moved on silent wheels.
She fastened my eyes to two wells.
I was pasted to the deep.
The first image was of jangling
the second, inchoate dark.
From a constricted throat
I brought a few words: My father
was a generous man—but remote.
At remote the darkness unveiled
a mist-becalmed lake and pale
sky and hills like loaves—
blue on blue on blue,
as the fan of Ma-Yuän—
So this was my father's house!
this courteous, ancestral place!
I lifted my eyes, in relief,
and tasted the mortal cold.
I sat down by the water's edge, old,
deprived, at home, at peace.