Henry Gould

Three Poems from Ravenna Diagram


        i.m. Van Cliburn

With a sigh, a rustle of rainbow fans
the audience awaits your entrance,
Fort Worth boy.  Eminence
of pianissimo détente – musicians’

strike (a union-dome).  Clash
of clayborne cymbals tears
the intellectual perma-
frost... man-forged mind-mash,

spray-thrown vermhurl (fear).
A dissonance of distance
between you and me haunts
this whorl (Adam’s ear-trumpet) –

light triangle of iron gone gold
(lontana).  Through jumble
of disaster, hope (humble
servant).  Two doves (fire-

folded wings).  So I remember
Mendelssohn, the neighborhood;
young symphonics sowed
oats there, on a farmers’

prairie (Twin Cities).  And
Mrs. Elledge, my piano
lessons (miniature
busts of all Three Bees, lined

atop the piano top).  Heidi
skipping across the street
(a motley scale)... sweet
whorl amid this world.  To be.




Backyard evening, noticed by
mosquitoes – little winged
lancers (rusty, tinged
with ragged tears).  St. Henry’s

Day, ex domicile (Jardin
des Mousquetiers).  Boom,
boom.  Little room
on high (full of eaglets’ din).

Level with me – let us speak plainly
now.  Fluked in a net
among flags, words – let
this servant-surf unroll.  Mary,

your wide fling-sponge... cathedral
hecatomb of feral
air (on fire).  All
shall be welcome here
(the moral

of the tale) – even the big-eared
rabbits of San Francisco.
This is America, you know.
A 51st state-of-mind’s geared

toward Port-au-Prince : tres
tresses are hers,
her sails soft whirrs
(hummingbirdings)...  Say,

Juan Fernando... those stars...
ringed round a beam
en face... trireme?
Isis barge?  Rainbarrel, house?




The night sky, salted with stars.
Remote geometries...
an exiled Raven seizes
River-Serpent by a branch – spars

churn downstream, toward Whirlpool.
Old Narragansett god
of afterlife, uncanny bird
who summons spirits through a smokehole –

dark-twined knot of All Souls’
Eve – our shadow-self,
Your Hollowness... a sybil’s
flute-servant (the Wind controls).

Meanwhile, on a planet of opulent day,
twin bridges (Saint Frisco’s
Mary, Martha) rose –
shimmering illuminated mass (array

of 25,000 undulating...) – waterfall
from catenary smile
of twin pillars (1.8-mile
face-to-face).  Leo Villareal

controls each light individually
from his laptop
.  So
thrice-hermetic star-glow
(God of Traffic) beams (perpetually)

across cold waters of Chrysopylae;
when Raven folds his wings
to plummet, frozen things
glint in his wake.  Little Bear will sigh.



HENRY GOULD lives in Providence, Rhode Island. His books include Stone (Copper Beech, 1979) and Stubborn Grew (Spuyten Duyvil, 2000). He also edited and published the work of scholar/translator Edwin Honig (Time & Again: poems 1940-1997). When he is not scribbling or sleeping, he sometimes attempts to play musical instruments.