Poem in Three Places at Once

After Du Fu and two fellow poets

1. In the manner of David Hinton

Jack pine chill shivers through our north window.
Shards of moonlight shimmer a broad trail
on the lake. A light of settling dew dances slowly.
Stars and clouds ebb and flow in a higher dance.

A small fish flits in the light, almost soundless.
Discussing migration, two loons coo at each other.
Our lives pass between bullets and bellowing.
I am done with keening: night passes over us.

2. In the manner of David Young

Red pines sough in the night chill
perplexing the surface of sleep

the moon above our lake
shines a twinkling hedgerow

of unfiltered atoms, silent light
painting a smooth invitation of glow

stars clustered among stray clouds
ebb and flow like early autumn dawns

two loons outside lake-glow
coo to each other about migrating

and the tiny music of a small fish
flipping on the surface of the lake—

far outside the ammo-racket of civil mayhem
and the dis-civil ranting of demagogues

I rise in some quiet hunger outside aliment
moon-glow glides toward us and fades.

3. RFS, alone with Du Fu and un-mannered

Night-chill shivers off moon-lit cholla,
ghost shadows make un-substance of sleep.

A full moon veils heavy doubt behind
cirrus clouds that heighten the firmament
of doubt. Moonlight is noisier than the hope
of a quail-note some future dawn ago.

Beyond the moon a soul-song of coyotes
shines in the specter-glow of cactus spines.

Somewhere in a pre-dawn pond a desert
pupfish ripples the surface with a dorsal fin
in a shine and silence that mutes the sound and fury
of sheriffs and politicians and vigilante thugs.

I stir in a thirst beyond water-lack. Fierce
cactus spines pretend to soften, protect my
wayward drift into ebbing moon-glow.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.