January 12, 2021

Clif Mason


Name, please, the ways
that living is not hysteria.
Yet mystery is everywhere.
Ask the wisteria,
the sugar maple.
Are these days’ putative needs—
hurtful urgencies,
hateful exigencies—
not desires bound up
within regrets
within desires?
Are they not incarnate
(& reincarnate) paradox,
part & parcel
of reason’s unreason
(for whatever reason) ensorcelled?
I turn instead to the jade plant’s
green cascade of flames.
To the red fox
surprised at 2 a.m.—
sparking, livest of live wires,
down our street,
fire-shock of tail trailing,
& ears & body ablaze.
It glanced—we roused
no fear. Flame leapt the street
& flared between houses.

from Poets Respond
January 12, 2021


Clif Mason: “There are few things in my lifetime that have been as disturbing as the events of last week as our legislators gathered to certify the election. Time ripped and we were thrown back to the War of 1812. Mind and reality ripped and we had to face again and again on televised repeat the sight of our fellow citizens made insensible with anger, primed with months of lies and deceit, willing to do any violence to the process of democracy that they did not appear to comprehend and certainly did not respect or value. After a day of the surreal juxtaposition of ‘Animal House’ antics and drawn guns, I understood anew Whitman’s feeling in section 32 of ‘Song of Myself’: ‘I think I could turn and live with animals …'”

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