Though the Earth's brow is marked by ashes
This is not Ash Wednesday
Because I do not hope to return again
Neither by poem nor presence
I do not hope to return to see the sun
Burning the sky, deep pink, heliotrope
(The trope of Icarian wings in conflagration)
Darkening to an amber glow
As the churning winds embed the smoky clouds
With a disarray of splintered embers,
Swept up from the narrow canyons:
Wing, Soda, Sage, Mayacamas
Where its erratic sines, cosines and tangents
Blew past the modest aprons of leafy canopies
That had shielded the gnarled rows of espaliered berries--
Zinfandel, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, the Sauvignons
And descended by whim upon our cities of the plain,
Where a burnt sycamore stump stands like Lot's wife,
A pillar of salt for our wounds: Mercy, Mercy,Mercy!
To this we have come home:
This side of the Petrified Forest, we enjoy a petrified tenancy
Of those who feel hollowed, not hallowed by cinders,
Dust and ashes; no Ash Wednesday
We remember the folks who came knocking, just in time,
The fortuitous berms made by the big Cats and John Deere's,
We remember the volunteers packing berms by shovels.
As time, too, was burning by whim.
No time to contemplate Ecclesiastes. Time?
I do not hope to return again
Until such time when the blessing of the day comes forth
A sui generis blessing that comes to wash the clouds
Of hubris and bad stewardship away
That brings a soothing balance of rain after long drought
That heals the earth with a remembrance of purpose
And brings another Burmese Izzy to us from a budding grove
And we shall not mourn the vanished power of the usual trove.