Daniel Williams


For Georgia O’Keefe

It is only in silent hidden places
       One shapes one’s prayers
To the chambered hearts of flowers
       A  green and cream maelstrom afloat
Above the sizzle of water known only to those
       Whose vivid hands chant a fleshy mythos

Pigments ripped from burnt forests
       Scarlet crumbled from walls
Of the great womb itself   bleeding and leaching
       Crushing   mixing

Envisioning these you’ll know—
       It’s an accrual of sky flying to bird
A prairie walking its way to umber beasts
       Star glow in circles inside radiant lines
Zigzag waves mark the place where one waits
       Nakedly pure for creatures of the spirit to thirst
For wallbrowse of elk  snake’s forked stick  puma’s
       Flat-footed pace  bear’s sacred thorns—
As each blossom unfurls
       A living reed sharpens itself

This milkwhite trumpet calls you back   first
       Feeling snows of winter  then heat as a kind of
Music from bronze hands painting a world
       As simple as complex as a lily

Chasing Ansel

               Adams’ Autumn Moon , Glacier Point
               September 15, 2005  7:03 p.m.

He knew light and shadow
As intimately as he knew his box camera
On its tripod with glass plates
Accordion shutters
One autumn night alone at Glacier Point
He took an image of a full moon
Arisen at sunset between Mt. Starr King
And Clark Peak     Afterward while
Venus arose in the western dark velvet
He donned a flannel shirt against the cold
Drank deeply from a thermos of joe
Laced with whiskey
And became a spirit to this place where
Tonight a hundred people watch
The same moon arise over the same peaks
In  gorgeous apricot light framed with
The same shadows that every one knows
From his 1948 photo
Yes he is here amused to watch the digital
Cameras attempt to capture the same beauty
He caught so primitively
400 tail lights flashing scarlet in the night
on the road out when the mystery
had faded
He is still there    lonely as ever but for
the thrilling company of rugged earth and
silent glories of sky
waiting for the next 19 years to go
the wondrous repetitions
of just one lovely cycle
that was his to capture alone—
that was ours to humbly discover