Great Ones
Geoffrey Nutter

Great ones are not simply sitting in the age by themselves,
under peach trees, in the rain.
Great ones may have mountain lilies in them, fast asleep.
Great ones may recline on golden sofas, fallen into dead stares,
or sleep on the docks of the black-watered factory basin
late at night. They may form by imperceptible growth, like seashells.
The power being the mountain may say something to the great ones,
may say something flattering, and so may the boiling sea,
and so may the sea grass in the salt wind.
Will the setting sun say something to the great ones?
Will they foretell the future, which is near?
The silver arch flashes in the winter sky.
And great ones wade into the Mississippi with the river-boats,
and fish leap up into the hairy arms and hairiness of great ones,
and pelicans stiffen at their suicidal instincts
and put sticks and twigs into the hair of great ones.
They build their structures on the heads of great ones.

Do they fear? Flowers, minor beings, never fear, are never
frightened; and can then this be said about the great ones?
Malice will never invade one swan soundlessly.
Leafless trees may joylessly despise you
though they are serene as deep space.
The ocean is craftily solemn.

Yet the mountain, after avalanche, is remorseless. It stands
remorselessly, kinged mountain, winged by cloud-forms.
It never knew the power of being lost.
Great ones were never at home on the earth. They
were never part of the earth. They simply
slept on the earth, and awoke on the earth, overcome.

Honey and Old Things by Dorothy Wayne Russell
Great Ones by Geoffrey Nutter
Peloponnesian Wars by Geoffrey Nutter
In the Atlas of Birds by Kirsten Kaschock


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