David Hunter Sutherland: Five poems


To be certain that our dual nature
of experience is

no less mutable than a fern's
reflection off a lake, or

a sunfish purporting magnitude
with glimmer in shoal.

One can easily believe a snowfall
or rolling mist is muted

under thunderous sky and
that nature aided with spells

hides half its ecstasy, half its pain.
A subject of lucid reality

personifies wisdom for an owl's
brass cooing, hypnotized

to its ritual marriage to
field mouse and engaged

in as sweet a horror as this
dimunitive sense of self

left staring at midnight,
amoral, untamed.


Her face, numinous as fire,
her mouth, a dulcimer of timbres cast

in a portrait of flesh and form.
Motionless the dialogue paints itself

into Modigliani's distortion of
form, physics, style of perfection

or Vermeer's almond tart of serene attitude
mirrored to a fantasy of boudoir and post.

For today's impression, staccato, cafe au lait, nude
model, graces the canvas on perturbed air.

And a evening star on a wind's hard edge finds
the hallucination of the thing emerge, dissolve

on this palette of love, we paint a certain pathos,
a rumination of Dali-esque proportions, a halt

in the distance we approach unaware.
And like these certain Chaldeans

these certain critics of divination,
one can only chart the beauté du diable,

remain covetous over her ascendence
or blink to reposition the illusion.


Naked as pearl this imbroglio
of images, scenes and predilections
flash like a minnow racing shore,
or fades as a bullfinch caw across field,
or stretches as the drum's grip
the leather grip of skin in palm
returns the bone's pearl.

Naked our grasp of eternal baths and faults
dashed on teething stones and
balled into fetal rounds.
As nothing of nothing moves closer, come closer...
Deep adjustments are coming
gratis pro Deo,
deep adjustments are needed.

Flipside? A linear world of start and stop characters,
the Gunga Din of a brothel's salvation.
Flip-side rapture's cuisine, a fete' dull to palate,
abstract and damn unpopular.

Served in atmospheric tranquility of a sleeping god,
whose eyes must be sunlight,
whose teeth must be rain.
Offered in the finest dream-like nativity
with dinner bell and bauble and shining
throat of celestial body, swallowed
from memory menu and guest, both
less than gracious, naked as pearl.


Studded with stars, Orion's Cusp
the Great Bear, the Norse Horse bridled
with bit and rein

races across sky, mane
billowing past celestial boundaries, hooves
pressed into the ley lines and faults

of a world's axis. The rider's whip,
a solstice's vault swollen with
myth awaits

the vernal's turn, a harvest
whose crop breathes out
love for rain, time for earth.

Breathes out life beyond symbol,
unites mystery with silence,
lets its subject of tokens go mute.


The ceaseless movement of wind over earth,
this is like breathing.

The ethereal form, the visceral form,
the clair de lune of all final

analysis achieved, is blue sky. This is
the loving; the language of bloom and

blossom, the burgeon of reality spun
from skin and heart and bone and

but for your leaving, the silver cord
on trailing gown, the play of

little gods of word and deed.
We search the stars with your eyes

the earth with your mind,
loving all we see and in this believing

the eternal will return.
Will return her, hair veiled in fire,

spirit in a bell jar's keep,
soul of a mother of a mother.

Will return him, delicate peal to bellow,
full-lipped and phallic mouth drinking, drinking.

Will return you daughter and son,
twilight of my breast, moon of this night,

hold them up to face, face pressed close to mine,
this is like breathing.