Dappled Things, by Robin Chapman and Peter Miller

The following poems and photogravures originally appeared in Dappled Things by Robin Chapman and Peter Miller (Paris: Revue K, 2013): poems by Robin Chapman and photogravures by Peter Miller, copyright 2013 by the author and artist, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

Dappled Things

Always the world-spun light casts patterns
raveled through the wind-thrown clouds, the forest’s
branch-broken loom, across the hoof-scraped moss
and snow-banks, the backs of browsing mule deer
whose swiveling ears listen for the whispered sound
of the tawny cougar’s padding walk. Dark and light,
sleep and wake and dream course through our lives
to make us what we are—sun and shadow-clothed,
bedrock and layers of fertile soil, green climb
and blight of history, wind-taken, time-wound
and wounded, heart-bound to world’s warp and weft.

Carried Away. Yoshino, Japan, 2004.

Carried Away. Yoshino, Japan, 2004.

 

 

 

 

 

Fire

Out of dream sleep, deep sleep,
dawn embers flare, rinsing star sky,
setting shadows fleeing across
the landscape that wakes now not
to sun’s single eye but cloud-breath,
leaf sigh, soaked field, spider-web;
dowsed light igniting mist, tree,
the woman bending to the weed-work
of day.

Morning Glory. Arughat, Nepal, 2008.

Morning Glory. Arughat, Nepal, 2008.

 

 

 

 

 

Landscape  

What’s native? This stretch of yard once marsh
fringed by tall-grass prairie, fire-swept, drained
to re-emerge in cherry, hickory, oak all felled
for lumber, fallow in winter, tilled to cornfield
fringing the edge of town—come house, grass,
elms, honeysuckle border creeping in—now
we machete-slash the stems of indigo, beebalm,
asters and goldenrod for slow compost, clear
so that the tender crocus, scilla, and daffodils
will lift their faces through leaf drift to the early
bees and each of us weary of winter sleep.

Ozenuma. Ozenuma, Japan, 1994.

Ozenuma. Ozenuma, Japan, 1994.

 

 

 

 

 

Spare

I watch the black crow, wing-wrenched,
walking on snow—how we can go on,
go on, memory-borne, through cold,
through wind’s work, loved world,
till owl-dusk or fox-dawn. I want to walk
with my friends through broken-winged days,
want words to lift us back to the ordinary air,
to spare us pain. I want the words, when time
comes, to speak by our graves, to comfort
the living, honor the dead, lay each of us to rest
earth-borne, shroud-wound or wind-kissed,
grateful for life’s brief flight of joy, light-blest.

Beyond the Sunset. Nagano, Japan, 2008.

Beyond the Sunset. Nagano, Japan, 2008.

 

 

 

 

 

Who Knows How

this life goes on
            as we step and turn,
looking into each other’s face
            as the fiddle music plays
the fluent syncopation
            of the hambo waltz,
our center of gravity holding
            between us, anchored
as weight shifts from me
            to you and back again
as we turn and spin,
            turn and spin—music
holding us in its arms.

Interlude. Kyoto, Japan, 2012.

Interlude. Kyoto, Japan, 2012.

 

 

 

 

Robin Chapman is the author of nine books of poetry, including the eelgrass meadow (Tebot Bach) and One Hundred White Pelicans (Tebot Bach), poems of our changing terrain. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin. Read poetry by Robin Chapman appearing in Terrain.org Issue 25.
 
Since 1991, Peter Miller has created and published more than 300 original editions of photogravure etchings. His workshop and residence are in Kamakura, Japan. Learn more at kamprint.com.

All photogravures © by Peter Miller. All rights reserved. No images may be copied or used without express written consent of the artist.

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2 Responses

  1. Chancy

    I love the poem Dappled Things. It was so full of imagery and euphony. I especially loved hearing the author read it. Great poem.

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