Guest Poet Jim Gramann

Night Song

At the edge of dreams, our wandering days unite
in darkness, so the first spring stars may shine.
We find them in the raven fall of night.

And as the summer's noon descends, its height
drawn home by shadow's drowsy line,
at the edge of dreams our wandering days unite

to clasp a nodding sun.  Come fold its light
in sighs of dusk where ends of day recline,
come find me in the raven fall of night.

And when the seasons curl with autumn's bite,
when wind-torn branches coil in steep decline
at the edge of dreams, our wandereing days unite

again, we lift away in lusty flight,
we soar, we go where earth will not confine
or bind us--to the raven fall of night.

Sleep close, my one, in winter, for as white
wind gently wraps your yielding limbs with mine,
at the edge of dreams our wandering days unite.
I'll find you in the raven fall of night.

December, 2000

Jim Gramann's Questions:

1.  The two refrains of this villanelle end in what amounts to a same-word rhyme (unite and night).  To me, this is especially apparent in the final stanza, where the form requires the refrains to combine in a closing rhyming couplet.  How does this same-sound strike your ear?

2.  I waffle on the title for this poem.  Sometimes I call it "Night Song," sometimes I call it "Edge of Dreams."  Sometimes I even call it "Edge of Dreams (Night Song)."  Any suggestions?

Mojave's Daughter

If I had scalding clouds to brand as runes
upon your brow, to chisel and to fuse
this art to earth, I'd sculpt the desert dunes

from you. And though you drummed in wild tattoos,
beating sand against my step, I'd think it stardust,
blazing moonstruck paths all lovers choose.

Should you flee from me on roads which thrust
against the phantom waters none had ever
reached, my thirst would drain these pools of wanderlust,

drawing fuel from your flight. As with fever
of a thunderstorm, you churned and struggled hotter,
I'd drink again, consuming your endeavor.

And when I burned because Mojave's daughter
burned in you, then phoenix-like I'd rise
from flame to drown with you in water.

December, 2000

Jim Gramann's Questions:

1. In earlier drafts of this poem, each stanza was a self-contained paragraph. In this draft I've enjambed two pairs of stanzas to reduce the sing-song, but I'm bothered by the phrase "drawing fuel from your flight."  Does it read like a tag-on, a weak enjambment for the sake of enjambing?

2. This poem is written in a very old Italian form called terza rima. How does the interwoven rhyme pattern sound to a contemporary poet?

The Albany Poetry Workshop