William Everson: Online Poems


Kingfisher Flat

In the long drought
Impotence clutched on the veins of passion
Encircles our bed, a serpent of stone.
. . . . . . . 
I think of the Fisher King,
All his domain parched in a sterile fixation of purpose,
Clenched on the core of the burning question
Gone unasked.
. . . . . . .
Oh, wife and companion!
The ancient taboo hangs over us,
A long suspension tightens its grip
On the seed of my passion and the flower of your hope.
Masks of drought deceive us. An inexorable forbearance
Falsifies the face of things, and makes inflexible
The flow of this life, the movement of this love.
. . . . . . .
I hear quaking grass
Shiver under the windowsill, and out along the road
The ripe mallow and the wild oat
Rustle in the wind. Deeper than the strict
Interdiction of denial or the serpentine coiling of time,
Woman and earth lie sunk in sleep, unsatisfied.
Each holds that bruise to her heart like a stone
And aches for rain.

William Everson. Online Source


Seed

Some seed in me, 
Some troublous birth,
Like an awkward awakening,
stirs into life.

Terrible and instinctive
It touches my guts.
I fear and resist it,
Crouch down on my norms, a man's
Patent assurances.

I don't know its nature.
I have no term for it.
I cannot see its shape.
But, there, inscrutable,
Just underground,
Is the long-avoided tatency.

Like the mushrooms in the oak wood,
Where the high-sloped mountain
Benches the sea,
When the faint rains of November
Damp down the duff,
Wakening their spores---
Like them,
Gross, thick and compelling,
What I fear and desire
Pokes up its head.

William Everson. Online Source


The Poet Is Dead
(excerpt from Everson's memorial for Robinson Jeffers)

Snow on the headland,
The strangely beautiful
Oblique concurrence,
The strangely beautiful
Setting of death.

The great tongue
Dries in the mouth. I told you.
The voiceless throat
Cools silence. And the sea-granite eyes.
Washed the sibilant waters
That stretched lips kiss peace.

The poet is dead.

Nor will ever again hear the sea lions
Grunt in the kelp at Point Lobos.
Nor look to the south when the grunion
Run the Pacific, and the plunging
Shearwaters, insatiable,
Stun themselves in the sea.

William Everson. Online Source


Return to William Everson