Patricia Nelson

Glaucus
—After Dante: Paradiso

 

I have eaten like an herb  

this strange language of light

and I have seen others change. 

 

I who am arrogant and vain 

have begun to speak simply, 

to think in small questions. 

 

I am narrow, my shoulder bent toward one  

whose eyes move like the sea, a blue so wild 

it turns my eyes and makes them smaller.

 

I am Glaucus near his fish that woke and walked.

He ate the grass beneath them, then went 

like an open violet into the color of the sea. 

 

The damp, blank bowl of his forehead 

followed silver creatures gliding in the tide. 

His dream brightened with its distance from land.

 

How he loved what he didn’t understand, 

followed all the foreign, shining shapes.

with his porous wants, his potions and commands.

 

I wear the sad and iron body of his love, 

swaying in its weight, its fervor, 

its lengthening, glowing ride. 

THE COURTSHIP OF WINDS

© 2015 by William Ray