Waterfall: Speech

Beginning things

Armed figures emerge from the falls

Beautiful destroyers

A splash-live slapdash

Bodies, shapes

not of earth

but of the vapor, air

Atmospherics of the place

Creatures of pure emergence

Emanations ghosting home

Back from everwhere/neverwhere to here-again

Figures of air, frozen waves

The message and the static

     incantation of the nation

The fire-stream on auto-mation

Energies of embarkation

First love, first life, verse indication

Inspiration of the waters

In the waters, breath and life

and if heard, attended to, rehearsal predication

Emergence of the word

Stents and stems and birdlike wonder

Self-dom seen and ever heard

Translation of an endless pulse

through the rumble of the verse

Clamor of the ancient lovers

Hunters herders growers

Builders, bearers, all immerse


Always Beginning

Capable figures emerge from the falls

Heroes, children, goddesses

From the spirit fog of old talk, weary tales, twining tales

from spheres of culpable imagination

Tails still scrapping over dogs

Powder-dust foundation lays, thought-dreams of a summer day,

Bees whine in the vernal haze

Pleasure-spots of time, feeling foci, laugh-prone languors

Tiny-voiced choruses squealing jokey

Laughter of the cells, ticklish moments

Parting of the particles

Pleasure-stoppers floating fee

Choruses squealing you and me

Beautiful creatures, beasts, fork-legged and otherwise

Birds indifferently joyful in their distant, facile way

Poppies dancing in an orange breeze, a whisper of moistened breath

Winged notions, messages from fore-n’after

Saxon farmers trenching the earth at Sutton Hoo

Beginning tales told to indifferent laughter

On the banks of the Indus heroes woo

Healing mothers, earth fighters, soul-warriors

Magicking quick-silvers, bent farmers, squatting pioneers of fertility

Breathing in//out, in//out at the start of things

Where to now? Clouds briefing in a gray bowl of beginnings

Hero-makers already emergent

Silvered Celts, backdating ancestry,

mothers sewing fates in silken vests,

Sands slipping free of oceans crests.

History and geology

Hegelian phenomenology

Starting from Paumanok

Fog-lifted meres, moan of the ocean, breath on loan

Too great a falling from thought-free height

as well, a swell, swelling

Falling to our fateful night

A wave that curls at the crest, then lingers, lapping,


From the bowl of endlessly thinning ions

Figures emerge, men like lions

personae dramatis

Descend, like flowers

wilting backwards into life

Time, place, and hours

from the wispy, water-bearded face of the milky stream,

A paintbox of the gods upset, apocals…

lisps and sometimes worse

Scattering the nimbus to the you-in-verse

Dicing godes, explodes

Cinematic modes

What’s this, amiss in the midst?

Some body chasing some self-likeness

about the city’s walls, men’s work no doubt

Hunting fate like beasts, a many-headed rout

Mythopoeia steamy inspirations and gastric odors mingling

after, or before, the brazen hunt for doubles singling

The mother-goddess sewing the great table-cloth of fate,

Tapestry of time, winding sheet, rushing stream,

a day too early, a day too late,

down from mountains of thunder-gods

to the banks of the Indus,

the sands of Byblos,

the killing ground of fair Iona

A lifeline-like songline born from the fires of a conflagration

Many-stepped disaster for a busting nation, foretold by asters

poking upward, inches beyond the spray of the great uncanny falls

to find, once more a flume’s foundation, earth-bound estranged,

endangered, a soul’s vocation.

Robert Knox

Robert Knox is a poet, fiction writer, and Boston Globe correspondent. As a contributing editor for the online poetry journal, Verse-Virtual, his poems appear regularly on that site. They have also appeared in journals such as The American Journal of Poetry, New Verse News, The Eunoia Review, and others. His poetry chapbook “Gardeners Do It With Their Hands Dirty” was nominated for a Massachusetts Best Book award. He was the winner of the 2019 Anita McAndrews Poetry Award.

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