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Franklin & Palmer – February 2020

Brian Palmer and Linda Franklin traded art and words. Linda shared this image, titled “Rust,” with Brian:

In response, Brian wrote this poem:

New Rust

O! Look upon the chariots massed for war;
the manes of rearing horses blazing red;
the armor of fierce warriors burnished bright.
Alas! All will return to dust when day is night.

Many sounds—of steel and stone and flesh
and breaking bone—still grind inside his head.
And just behind that din, a murmuring voice:
Soft prayers, hissed curses, and confused contrition.
He will not sit for dwindling, haunted time!
He’ll rise, retreat to glories of the past.

But off his chair and off his stand, off balance,
inside the walls of mortared indecisions,
inside the walls of crumbling-plaster memories,
inside the walls of white-washed resolutions,
his thoughts have turned to drizzling rain;
the oxidation of his body and

conveyance has set in. He’s done, unable
now to heed the conch’s blare to charge.
And in the utterly corroded casting
of his human body, he, a pupa,
strains to find release and leave behind
the mortal skin of old and dead desire.

Then in a nacred shell he hears One sound:
              the calming water that dissolves distractions;
              the flowing water lifting up the spirit;
              the soothing water mending the surrender.
O! On the cosmic battlefield of dust,
see in the morning sun new, gleaming rust.

* * * * *

Brian shared this poem with Linda:


At dawn, from a backyard in a neighborhood
with houses, churches, vacant lots, and trees,
a cat, an owl, a skunk, all prowl about,
a coal train lumbers down its lonely line.

In this dawn, I find her: Venus in Virgo.
I close my eyes in gratitude for something
pure and familiar and surrender myself
to apricot sunrise, and to my duties.

I enter the house and eat a small breakfast,
sort through some mail, tidy up, check the news.
I still hear the train (in Utah by now,)
nothing and everything moving forward.

I’ll take the freezing rain
                                                and dying trees,
decrepit farms
                             and waning gibbous moons.
I’ll take a lonely hour,
                                          a hard memory,
an unsaid word,
                               endings. And I’ll take age

that lies within my body like a stone,
that’s changed my face, my shape, my gravity.
I’ll take it—carry all of it—if only
to wake once more with Venus in my eyes.

In response, Linda made this image, titled “Held to the Earth”: