Jonathan Williams


A Vulnerary 

one comes to language from afar, the ear
fears for its sound-barriers —

but one “comes”; the language “comes” for
The Beckoning Fair One

plant you now, dig you
later, the plaint stirs winter

air in a hornet’ s nest
over the water makes a
solid, six-sided music…

a few utterly quiet scenes, things
are very far away — “form
is emptiness”

comely, comely, love trembles

and the sweet-shrub

On Cowee Ridge

John Gordon Boyd
died on the birthday
of three remarkable, and remarkably different, writers:
Heinrich Heine, Kenneth Patchen, Ross McDonald

John, too, was just as remarkable, blessed with an inherent “graciousness”
and with extraordinary eyes & ears…

I think of two texts
on the grievous occasion of his death:

“Religion does not help me.
The faith that others give to what is unseen,
I give to what I can touch, and look at.
My Gods dwell in temples
made with hands.”
— Oscar Wilde, in De Profundis

The Wreck on the A-222 in Ravensbourne Valley

where the car hit him, fireweed sprang with
blazons of fennel

and umbels
of dill fell
through the spokes of a wheel

on Whistun holiday to the sun, Denton
Welch spun a web in his crushed cycle,

sat in the seat, spine curled up like a spider —

and spied: “saw
the very drops of sweat glittering frostily
between the shoulder blades”

of a lad