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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Section 4: I am (not) nature

B.J. Buckley

B.J. Buckley
Hives the smallest holy
kingdoms stacked
and trucked and
lifted out into the hay meadow
spoils of shipwreck
stranded on some verdant
shore the bees
are everywhere are stunned
by light by the grass
alphabet by pollen
scents of bloom and
blood and scat and feathers
bees in clouds
around me blurring
all horizons with their bright
and puzzled hymnody my hands
covered arms breasts
hair and the men
in the bee suits
aliens from some world
that is not
In a hollow in the fragile skulls of
passerines, particles of magnetite –
and no one knows the beautiful how? of
granular migration to involute
interior chambers: for each songbird,
inborn, a compass, to earth’s magnetic
resonance aligned – it’s as if they heard
wild melody sung back: harmonic
soundings of that field shaping atmosphere –
to fly out across such blank distances,
unknown, as if they knew them – a bright wire
in the blood, a sure intrinsic balance.
Within this shell, this chamber like an egg –
be still, be still – suspended, waiting for
a new hour, subtle change in tide’s slow drag,
the wind’s course, the resonant semaphore
of this planet’s pulling on the iron
in my blood – in that small room anterior
to vision, what bright particles align
my flight, that long road to the interior?
Layer by layer, the labyrinth undone,
irresistible invisible lines of force
calling and calling – lonely peregrine,
my heart: this blue unwinding traverse.
for J. H. Schmidt III, M.D.
Largo sostenuto: Vespers
In earliest evening the day lets out its breath,
riffling the aspen leaves, long exhalations
through the green throats of the grass,
and the slant light draws a darkness out of the pines,
out of my body.
When my shadow crosses the shadows of pine
we become,
like brief lovers,
one –
flow together, deep currents of the water of light.
If my darkness speaks to the darkness of trees, have I
If we are all shadows,
am I the pine?
B.J. Buckley is a Montana poet & writer who has worked in Arts-in-Schools/Communities programs throughout the west for over 35 years. She is currently Writer-in-Residence for Sanford Arts, Sanford Cancer Center, Sioux Falls, SD. She lives, writes, and gardens in a small farmhouse in the “big windy” 30 miles west of Great Falls, MT, with her sweetheart, a blacksmith, and their assorted critters. She doesn’t have a website; she is too busy outside! BJ’s poems have appeared widely in both print and on-line journals, and in several anthologies, including Birds in the Hand: Fiction and Poetry About Birds (Henry Holt). Her most recent books are a letterpress chapbook, Spaces Both Infinite and Eternal, 2013, Limberlost Press, Boise, ID; and Corvidae, 2014, Lummox Press., California.


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