We happen to live on a one-blocker in Providence called Fisher Street - a wonderful little street, with wonderful neighbors we will be sorry to leave behind on our voyage to Minneapolis (see closing line of this section!)... So here's more of the "pickled pescatore", fishing again on Fisher.
from Ancient Light
The New Year arrived. . . babbling in the drink.
No one but no one was ready for the flood,
the jovial frenzy was times squared –
even a moving Titanic had no time to sink!
Henry was homebound again in Providence,
supine with a backache on his favorite couch;
tabled at foot level – a little clay conch,
a toy fisherman's coracle – his mother's hands
fecit. Lucky, christened on the bow.
A contemplative, maybe pickled, pescatore,
casting his rod in the unmoulded mare.
Lucky – lucky to come up with. . . zero.
Bruegel. Adoration of the Kings. 1564.
In the National Gallery in the heart of London
in the hands of black Balthasar in a green
conch on a gold nef. Is that a monkey there?
And the scrawny peasants and the bourgeois tubs
staring at all that gold and frankincense, miraculous!
O clever, clever, clever calculation – and finesse, too!
The has-been, burnt-out Wise Men ignore the rubes
meanwhile – have eyes only for the grinning pug
hidden in swaths of shrinking violet or
marigold blue (I can't remember). . . for He
shall Rule the Nations – snug as a bug in a rug.
And Henry. . . what about Henry? Is he ever
coming around again? I wonder.
Around Epiphany, his mind began to wander,
they said. Still have a Q in his quiver?
On Twelfth Night he remembered his grandfather's
birthday. Granddad, Builder of Grain Elevator,
père apparent of his mother – of the
grainstock of generations, ruler.
Hardy pioneer, flower grower.
Mother's middle name – Elvira.
Clay vine of Ravlin violin – è vero.
The higher you go the more grain implodes.
Spontaneous combustion fertilizer
mounts to flood tide and none the wiser,
the straight line of inheritance erodes
and out of a stumped Henry begins to drift
an example of poor penmanship. Bark
of a splintered retriever out of work
and out of time into London's night shift.
So many neighborhoods of rotisserie syllables!
Nobody needs your babytalk victories, your
bosky driftwood, boy. Work another hour – or
metro enthused back homeless to Minneapolis!
Lucky (MN 7)
John Ravlin, builder of grain elevators
Adoration of the Kings (Pieter Bruegel the Elder; National Gallery, London)