Lee Slonimsky has poems recent or forthcoming in The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish Poetry, The Classical Outlook, Glass, The Homestead Review, Mudfish, the New York Times, Nth Position, Per Contra, and Poetry Bay. His fifth collection, Wandering Electron, will be out in 2014 from Spuyten Duyvil Press. And his New York City based poetry workshop, Walking with the Sonnet, is going into its tenth year. As a fiction writer, he writes with his wife, Hammett Prize winning mystery novelist Carol Goodman, under the name “Lee Carroll.” The Black Swan Rising trilogy is available from Tor Books.
“The fascinating drowse of the morning
keeps the traveler from traveling.”
from “One night I was thinking” by Saadi (Persia, 13th century)
The fascinating drowse of small white bees
in dreamy hover over red petals
distracts Pythagoras; he doesn’t see
a hawk’s stiletto-sharp trajectory,
hypotenuse-of-plummet scything air
toward sudden talon-spike of careless hare.
Nor does he notice first light’s trapezoid,
branch-etched in pond, scarlet geometry.
He’s sleeping with these bees though wide awake:
savant of minutae, he loves the balm
mild wafts of air offer bees’ slow float
and him. Sweet scented haze. There’s nothing wrong
with all the world in this tableau that soothes;
bees startle into flight, but P won’t move.
Mid-Autumn Languages of Trees
The dialects depend on shapes of leaves
and how they face the wind. The southern drawl
of this slow sprawling oak requires a breeze
of just the proper softness. Don’t we all
speak best high on a mountaintop at dawn?
The angle’s crucial too; long leaves that slant
rootward will flirt with Cockney, sometimes song.
Bare branches only whisper — tender — faint.
My favorite might be pompousness of birch,
a royal diction phony as the warmth
of mid-October at the edge of snow.
Or give me the mild twang of cautious beech
admiring red-tailed hawks so high aloft
they blur the sun. The beeches praise their glow.