Wednesday, April 10, 2013

National Poetry Month: Janine Pommy Vega

Janine Pommy Vega

(Janine Pommy Vega)

the 42nd interruption
of Charles Messier's quest for comets
the 42nd suspect on the list
the 42nd blotch and poseur
is not a shooting star
is not a star
What is it?

M42 is Orion's sword
is a scintillating branch
the fish mouth of the Great Nebula
the next spiral arm out from us in the galaxy
the seamless coat of Christ
a stellar swan
The pulsating blue Trapezium
is a cuna, a cradle giving birth
to star after star after star

From the Chinese enamel lamp
a gorgeous goose flew off
through a hole in the beaded curtain
to the recesses of stellar space
she was laughing to herself, she was shaking
with mirth, he flight described an arc
of maybe twenty-five light years
across, from wing to wing

Her laughter flew
uncontrolled from the throats
of the ancient queens
as they swigged another ale down
broke another neckbone
and threw it to the dogs

He laughed in the midnight graveyards
with adept yoginis, who sang to each other
in secret
surrounded by bones jutting through
the earth and the grinning skulls
they reeled in ecstasy

O dazzling fecund nebula
in her blue and white robe!

If you want to be present at creation
see the Goddess in Her radiant dress
the Shakti
the Shekkinah
Get a telescope
buy binoculars
point it at the cloud in Orion's sword,
galactic pulse of the universe,
Look at this!

Fall on your knees in the snow and weep
in gratitude
Look at this!
The bird flying off into starry space
Look at this!

Willow, New York, November 11, 1994

"M42" by Janine Pommy Vega appears in the 1998 anthology Women of the Beat Generation edited by Brenda Knight. Of her own poetry Vega wrote that "My desire to slip away from the stories, and the choices we make to secure our identity in everyday life has borne fruit again and again. To go on a pilgrimage, I discovered, you do not have to know what you are looking for, only that you are looking for something, and need urgently to find it. It is that urgency that does the work, a readiness to receive that finds the answers."  In search of those answers, Tracking the Serpent: Journeys into Four Continents (2001) is a document of her journeys from the Irish countryside to the Amazon jungle to the high mountain cultures of Nepal; her many collections of poetry include Mad Dogs of Trieste (2000), and The Green Piano (2005).

No comments: