W. F. Lantry       

Meconopsis Betonicifolia

I've set the pixels on my screen deep blue
deep blue the ragged silk covering twelve
small antique panes defining this slim room.
And soon, at the first frost, the cold lucarne
which gives out on the garden will be wrapped
with the same hue.  I lost, three years ago

the deepened violet of clitoria
ternata, in an ice storm.  Summer's end
now brings herbed sage, a bit of distant red
backed by the sun.  Its seed cast, it surprised
veronica and measured my distress.
What should I long for?  Himalayan blue

poppies I cannot grow-  it's too warm here
the seedlings wither in humidity.
That sage is hardy-  when the winter sun
shines level past red lacquered shutters blue
may seem redundant, or may be transformed
to something more intense than my desire.


        “nor blaspheme down the stations of the breath...”

This evening, as we together plunge
into the coldest darkness of the year
when even steam turns crystalline, this light
more particle than wave, sustains or holds
within me something like I felt when we
walked on the lake this afternoon, while ice

expanded audibly in broken lines
now intersecting, running parallel
or stretching beyond trace around the point:
the snow, wind thin, obscuring even those
when I knelt down to trace them, or to count
the numbers adding up to amethyst

or blue within the disappearing depths
whose hidden prisms, half-released, sustained
our steps or words, unspoken in this cold
while even light goes singing through the trees
at ten below, their limbs like ours constrained
to stillness, waiting for a moonlit word.

Chanson du Retour

                                 "...it chanced a ringlet of her hair
                                  Caught my poor soul..."


Tonight in celebration I will take
her love as offered once when we first learned
the wind could move around us. Interlaced
with morning light, and distant ancient songs,
warm wind against my skin and hers confused
all reckoning of what I'd thought or known.

I think now she was wearing cashmere on
her shoulders, and strung pearls caught the light
from southern windows, mirrored in her eyes.
Perhaps her skirt was jewel toned, her blouse
I want to say was watered silk, and then
her satin underthings were visible

after my hands disordered her composed
and careful artifice. So there she was
half mine at last, and ready to present
those gifts she'd hidden from me for so long.
Just then I felt the wind and understood
the world I'd known was gone, and we remained

our fingers interlaced, the distant sounds
woven almost like mirrored light around
the small wind moving through us while she gave
herself in unaccustomed ways as when
sunlight begets a wind above long swells
rising against stone outcroppings at dawn.


        “And over the river closes
             was savor of ice and roses... “

Six vesicas into a web, my love,
and blossomings beneath this snow tonight
I can’t imagine: winter, waterfalls--
only this moonlit wind of continents
in motion as you sleep, your distant breath
seems here almost a tasliman of warmth

and orbweavers are all my memory,
whose quick designs between clematis caught
the crystalline October frost, while I
from other hillsides watched in shadow as
unmoving, caught within the limbs, that moon
reminded me of tokens: rocks or shells

selected, rearranged in patterns, held
within my hands as now, while Iris rise
unseen beneath this ice-- along the stream
the earth remains and swells in light, to this
continuance of wind, awaking, here
the long cycles of roses and your words.


        “We need the landscape to repeat us.”

I’m good at symbols: hummingbirds mean love,
roses are pain and sorrow, if they’re white--
her lips if red.  A single raven perched
or flying from a tree means certain loss,
continuance in flocks, and amethyst
mirrors a different life within its flaws

if one can read them.  That’s the problem.  What’s
outside is no reflection of within,
and where one stands contorts the view.  Reflect
on Harold, looking up: the comet meant
defeat and death, but for the French, it signed
spectacular events.  There is no link

but in our gaze.  In record cold this spring,
I read mid-summer’s flowering, last night
I watched her watch the comet and believed
her somehow linked with song.  Why not?  Tonight
I heard the mockingbird against the moon
complaining, since our spring has not arrived.

Copyright © W. F. Lantry  2009

W. F. Lantry received his Licence and Maîtrise from the Université de Nice, an M.A. in English from Boston University and a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston.  Nominated for the Pushcart Prize, his poetry has appeared in Green World, Makar, Gulf Coast, Tennessee Quarterly, CrossConnect, and The Charlotte Poetry Review, among other journals.  He is the recipient of the Paris/Atlantic Young Writers Award.  He currently serves as the Director of Academic Technology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.