Three Poems

by David Hunter Sutherland.

 The Black Flower of Brzezinka
    "Just to get up each morning is to make a kind of peace."
     -Leonard Cohen, Lines From My Grandfather's Journal.
 Rouge, ocher, alizarin, blood,
 Colors of a flower west of Krakow,
 Petals of a genus whose rose madder pollen
 Scatters fields near Upper Silesia.

 Its sister phylum - Birkenau,
 A womb of ruddy ovules and hardened tubes
 Withers against leaf and spills out
 Onto the dark sepal of Salonika,
 A calyx of chambers and empty whorls
 Paints Krema's stained corolla
 With ash and cinder and coke.

 For illusion as rule
 Is the knowing or not knowing,
 A panicle for skeleton, a stamen for limb,
 The pas seul of a breeze or its solitude
 Shakes the bud from its stem onto the hard gravel
 Or to the living earth.

Her Beads of Mercy
     "Give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy
      for mourning."
                       Isaiah 61:3
 Somewhere her will pries open charity;
 Open doors, lifts eaves,
 Like an unseen helper endures

 A creature-hood of china and fine drapes.
 Somehow in a lifetime gathered
 These costly gems and stones

 Adorn her chest as she rubs
 A bead in palm, each one an eye
 That renders indistinct his memory.

 More precious now the cut and clarity
 Of what recedes with age,
 What rivals the brilliance of diamonds

 Still casts the right light,
 The right color against a grief
 Too precious to wear.

Orpheus: A Monologue
 With virtuosity close to hand
 The remaining cymbal as heavy as a tie iron

 Lets out its Dash-echo-dash...
 As today's performance, not unlike yesterday's,

 Comes to end. Shortly after our wedding
 She will run off with the drummer, overwhelmed

 With passion she'll carry on where fierce bands
 Of jazzmen, swingers and hepcats resonate

 Underground. And I will play an old Basie
 Let the funk and fusion melt away

 The enchanted rocks and rivers and trees,
 Then bury my lyre beside my best muse.

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