Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Tim Bellows

A Little Sugar on Bread,
A Cup of Wine

Mozart with the Great Mass. Winter.
He’s working sheets of paper with
sets of lines; he’s pacing near the fire.
His fingers find they can dance;
his singers too. Are they strutting in
through the steamy kitchen?

Leek and potato soup close
to boiling on the stove. One water drop
hangs on the ceiling. And the fire,
pianissimo through the night. All things
operating in concert. Snow outside in the dark.

Players and singers dash in and out. Masks,
long, billowed sleeves and tricks
flicker in the rooms. Mozart,
buzzing inside, breaking a pen in half.
Surely Constanze -- as the sun seeps upward --
will be touched in a dizzy way.

And always
the Credo beginning life
through these beams and walls. A sound
quieting itself -- as if sopranos in their notes
could glide down and dance with the tenors,
lengths of bodies touching.

Resonance. That droplet.
Its compact density hanging
another minute. Someone’s thought
always with you, Mozart.
Are you away? Will you
free the string of fire flashes that

charge low-rolling hills in the outskirts.
Drunk like soldiers? Celebrants leaping in the air?
Ah, they ignite, they become any white thing.
Maybe firework sprays. Maybe a snowfall
that thrills the dark for all time.

Wetlands. Melody and Meditation.

   Sound is an extension of all, and sound is spirit, motion.
                                                                   -- Joy Harjo

Warm mist rises from pools, bringing the visions on --
not quite inside, not quite outside our bodily frames. Allegories
for some endless passage, the rush and leap
of particle waves, the fast float of orchestral sounds
along the eighth pair of cranial nerves. Bird calls
over fine tidal mud.
                         Cool damp of morning --
still rubbing our faces for wakefulness -- we walk long
along the umber flats. Gritty fragrance of wet soil.
Sound of the land, a loamy tone that
changes without change. My friend, it
has greeted us well and our ears shift invisibly
toward regions outside the exosphere.
                                                 Would you say some saint
has brought this mood our way? Some indelible Jesus-Buddha
has assembled himself along our inward terrain? Farm country.
Muddy orchard. Fencerow. Or we’re kingbirds here on roadside wires.
Our high notes in rapid sputters exhorting the land
to bring on the orchestral reveries of spring and the universe.
                                                                            Let’s travel
over the unfelt curve of the world, be explorers
into whispered thrashing of tidal coasts. Good. We arrive here,
we sprawl, keeping our dignity, on sand. The wash
of moving sky over trees carries us sideways --
into the swell of broad waters. Funny,
inside the allegory for dying, mystery, mangroves --
but only the gorgeous shorebirds in their black and white formals
know how all this goes on. We ask, “Where
will our natural love take root, friend, when it’s
far from animal hunger and the dull meditations of men and vines
along this shallow, reedy water?”
                          We change our minds after touching death
with one pointed finger. We come around to praise the
      created tangles
of arching roots, the sleepiness of the black bear’s winter mind,
another orchestral center, another mover of the moon’s pull on seas.
We’re left here with our motion, our own low whine
screech owl’s falling pitch. May it make us all believers
      in our own
whistled notes -- as they urge our visions on. As they
      hum and warm
inside our skin-sheaths. And outside stars and comets we’ve
May our love take root. May we cut holes for sore toes in the
      tops of shoes
and keep on, taking on kinship with open, rolling land,
gesturing in its rhythm.
                         As we become
dreamed things, now awakened. Like the moon’s intractable pull,
like the motions that remain to us in this life. Like their
silent flashing within the heart, seat of life’s airs, balm
of swelling, advancing cricket noise,
of advancing clouds reflecting distant lightning.

©2005 by Tim Bellows

Tim Bellows is a poet, writer, and teacher who is devoted to wildland and inner travels. Tim has taught college writing for over fourteen years. He graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and has seen publication of poems in a variety of journals, and also in A Racing Up the Sky (Eclectic Press), Wild Stars (Starry Puddle Press), and Desert Wood (University of Nevada Press). See his Web site for more information.

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