I saw the World
as the shell of a tremendous Snail
When everything is black or white
one can walk in & in
down through an ever-shrinking
an ever smaller & narrower space
until one comes to the smallest, narrowest place
where everything stops
& there’s no turning about
Nothing left to do but die
Or one can already face the other way
or turn about after a few steps
& walk out & out
up through an ever-wider
an ever larger & more open space
until one comes to where there is no more shell
where everything is revealed & alive
& all in rainbow colours.
Gloomy mid-July morning
Is this dew or rain?
clouds hoodwink the sun
In the afternoon
Cumulous crystal balloons
mount & swell above the Purcell mountains
rain at the North end of Kootenay Lake
pouring on Lardeau, Argenta, Johnson’s landing & the deadly Slide
for hours clouds rise
or fall to rise again
& wind’s a nest of startled snakes
I walk to Fletcher Falls
& while I return
this all clears silently away
pale, fresh-washed sky above
few & sweetly mild
Butter wouldn’t melt in its mouth
It’s like this:
O Rupert! Cousin Rupert! No!! Pray do not foreclose!
I must, or else my bank may fail.
O Cousin, give me time & I shall pay. I’ll take in washing – my sole livelihood is here, Alas, ‘tis all I have!
Nay, Artemisia! it is too late!
he produces a pistol
I must have the mortgage or die!
& places its muzzle against his cranium
O Rupert, Rupert, O!! What can I do?
Marry me, Artemisia: that you can do, & might
O Rupert, I have ever loved you
& I you, Artemisia. Our marriage abates the mortgage, the capital is here, the bank will not fail & you shall never
take in washing.
Being a banker is hell
exeunt, arm in arm; as they depart, he tosses the Mortgage into the air; she shoots it with the pistol
‘Way too melodramatic
& that’s the weather report today
Birch twig an autumn wind dropped
a twiglet, two buds, brown & dead
in the Capital, they scold away all the scholars
bandits remain to grasp fiercely at the Empire
for Sung Po-jen