POEMS from DISTANCES by William Zander
William Zander was born in Tulsa in 1938, and reared in Omaha. Since then, he's lived in Southern California, Missouri and is currently a resident of Sussex County, New Jersey. He's been an artist, cartooonist, journalist, fiction writer and teacher. He currently serves on the faculty in the English Department at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ, where he helps to edit the Literary Review, a journal of international writing published at university. His poetry has appeared in periodicals since the early sixties, but Distances (Solo Press, San Luis Obispo, CA.) was his first collection of poems. The following poems are excerpted from the book which is available autographed, from the author, by writing to Skylands Writers & Artists Association, Box 15, Andover, NJ. 07821-0015. He is married to Alex Zander, a talented actress and writer of light verse. The couple serve on the Advisory Board of SWAA, Inc. and help to Coordinate the series of poetry readings, founded by Daniela Gioseffi, at McKeown's Historic Lodge, on the bank of Culver Lake, in Branchville, near their home. Zander is a trout fisherman and bird watcher in the last unspoiled woods and lake lands of New Jersey's Northwest.
THE COMING OF GREEN
is subtle, the coming of little points,
little embroideries, against the grey and bristling
armies of the hills; the buds unfurl,
tiny and cautious, yellow as much as green;
leaves poke out of the soil, or whorl
like green and newly discovered shells,
spears and tongues and little green hearts,
the veins clear and important - now
the infinite complexities begin:
blue grass, bent grass, oat grass, crab grass,
white oak, black oak, red oak, still
the green spreads with a sigh,
green like a water color, plain as day;
and flowers, bright and explosive;
the petals fall, the green creeps up,
hiding the fruit, the nests of birds and squirrels,
it closes in as it opens, wider and wider,
heavy, solid, massive,
pounds of green, like dough, rising,
the hills groan with the weight of green,
heat presses down, green, green,
green with its cheeks puffed out, holding its breath,
the houses smothered in green, green
through the buzzing screen, the sky a hole in the green,
green, green, in the depths of which,
should you lose yourself in the darkest spot,
the center of all that green,
you would be where you always wanted to go,
you would surrender like the hills
to green, and its torpid, solid weight
would sink you in ultimate green,
the ostrich fern, the moss on a log
where an ant is stalking, there in the shade
you would fizz like a swamp where cattails nod,
and lilies lie flat and undisturbed
on the clotted, mossy water.
-- a mis amigas espanolas
The trees of heaven opened their arms and shed their leaves
Like lovers. The children bathing
Under the plane trees looked toward heaven
And saw the Lone Ranger
Tossing about, dreaming of inaccessible horses.
The people drinking sherry out on the terrace
Heard the last words
And lost count, and sipped, and watched as the awning flapped.
The waiters were all in league with the storm,
And hovered a few feet in the air.
And the sky filled in, filled in,
And a vein of gold appeared, and there was a sigh,
And the white-coated waiters whirled around and around.
Out on a fishing boat, a hake drowned.
Nobody cared but the hake. The sea, however,
Hurled itself at the boat.
Sometimes, doubtless, God is impressive; still,
Not far away, the sea looked like china,
Porcelain I mean, and people
Were wondering where to eat, as people will,
And whether or not they were in love.
THE GOLDEN TROUT
The golden trout is as beautiful
as a little woman writhing in my hand.
When I was a boy, and reading
Tarzan and the Ant Men,
I daydreamed a body,
held in my fist, the little breasts
the kicking legs, her squeaks
of fear and delight at the probing
finger - bones and flesh,
the mystery there to inspect
for the giant, erotic
son of Nimrod, the kid who built
the shining, intricate
model airplanes, balsa strips
pinned like a woman to the diagram,
Oh that was long ago, and now
the women are giants, hair as thick
as kelp, heavy with milk
as whales, the yeasty smothering
Brobdignagian flesh! And yet,
see how she crosses her burnished legs,
see how her face is shining,
how she wets her soft, diaphanous lips
with her little, innocent tongue!
O woman, nature's wronged and innocent waters,
swamp me while you can,
sting me with your beautiful bugs;
we both must die,
like the golden trout
streaming with blood from its shiny gills,
which I so wondrously lift
on my stringer, to the sun
where it glows like Rembrandt gold
as the sun goes down.
Copyright © 1979 & 1998 by William Zander. All rights reserved. May not be reprinted --or used in any electronic medium-- without expressed permission of the author.
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