Words on a paper.
Words, Vanera!
Words for an ideal,
Dove dreaming of the she-falcon,
The breaking of the storm
Over sullen seas of stagnation,
Across the Olympian blue
Beyond the rhinestone-studded night,
The North Star sleeping,
Reaching out to the black isles,
Fording rivers of the dead.
Words, Vanera!
Words of a man
In love with power,
Beautiful hunter,
Tigress on the steppes of innocence,
Wild, terrible lover,
Stalker of the wind-tossed world.
Words of a child
Dancing naked under the grey shield of dusk
Singing words,
Words of passion for the doe-eyed moon,
But the sound is music,
Tremulous, inconstant,
Pining for the tiger, the serpent, the falcon.
Words of fear,
Fear of the darkness,
Shadows from the frowning bluffs,
The fangéd mountains groaning,
Bleak tundra, burning wastelands,
Cypress swamps and crooked forests:
So far, so far,
To follow a star
Hovering in the gloom of twilight,
Shedding frostbeams over raven-picked ruins.
Words are my mantle,
My riding cloak,
Words of a man
Lost in a fog,
Camped on a chilly cove,
Marooned with my fiddle,
Cutting the mist with shrieking songs.
Words, Vanera!
Words of the yearning,
Peering out from high-rise windows,
Leaning in doorways,
Huddled beneath interstate underpasses,
Whistling, howling to the skirted businesswomen
At the jackhammer's pause,
Wiping the sweat of the hot sun from a balding brow,
Sipping wine on the porch with Puccini
As the sun sinks into the ruddy waves.
Words of the devout,
Words, Vanera!
Echoing plainsong through nave and choir,
Kneeling to the east
Crossing hearts and space,
Hymns of the lonely,
Prayers to Aphrodite,
Rising through incense and candles
Onto the backs of angels
Who ride over the heavy world in chainlike orbit.
Words, caught in chains of reason,
Symmetries of stone,
Columns rising over the hot hills,
Pediments raised like sentries over high hills,
For the rising sun,
The fire of your hair,
The morning revel of feather-clouds,
The jeweled eyes of the dragon
Rising from the craggy cliffs.
Waiting for the sunset,
The evening song,
Your muted entry,
At my window,
On the lawn,
Basket of baked dainties in hand,
Mismounting your chariot,
Rustling branches to get my attention.
Words, Vanera.
Soft, secret words from your naughty lips:
Sweet affirmation of my life
Is all I ask.

George Chadderdon © 1996