MARJORIE EVASCO


Professor Marjorie M. Evasco is the Director of the Bienvenido N.
Santos Creative Writing and Research Center at De La Salle University.
She has received several Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for her work
and she is also the recipient of the Philippines 1987 and 1999 National
Book Awards for Poetry and of the Philippine Free Press Poetry Prize.
Her latest book is Skin of Water: Selected Poems.






Kunstkammer

The field has eyes, the woods have ears,
I will see, be silent, and hear.

-Flemish proverb

I.
And what spoor have you followed
when you went hunting in the night?
this Kunstkammer's relics of the wild

reassemble your eye's blue pursuit
of the gazelle's femur. Here, a bone
splinter resumes her flight in air.

The shaft you let loose lodged into her
left shoulder blade. The bright ribbon
of her blood seeped into black, wet leaves.

Where she fell, your breath hot on her nape,
you found feathers. A storm had thundered
through the trees. And you, innocenced

into wonder, gathered bounty of flesh,
bones, quill by shining quill, home.

II.
There's no figuring this wilderness
in us, lost in the summer thunderstorm
in the red eyes of a great she-wolf.

Earless woods, no one listens to old proverbs anymore.
Neither does anyone believe in the gravity of tales
once told at bedtime before dream to children.

Time slides past perfect when a dog
crashes head-on to a van's cold muzzle.
We stand silent under a black umbrella,

knuckle-white freezing, watching it:
a no-sequence, seemingly inconsequential
road kill on a highway entering Bogotá.

Crossed earth, tierra cruzada, eyeless fields.
There are no crosses for any dead here.

III.
You've seen Heironymous after flying away from
their hell and their heaven into his garden
de las delicias. With what eyes and ears of wonder!

No, not still lives but rondels of joy, round
songs on open mouths, all orifices taking
to delight, without sign of slack or slander.

In Bosch's middleway, figures dance, con-
figuring the great spiral of the seasons.
Everything tastes with tongues of flame:

flamingoes, fire salamanders, blood corals,
beasts, birds, men, women, restore themselves
unto themselves as they go round the waters.

In this garden, strawberries have ripened.
Berry by one red berry picked, partaken.






Aqualligraphy of the 10, 001 Paths

It is autumn in the gardens of the empress' summer palace
On your first visit to the imperial city. On your way in,
A slight, white-haired woman snags your attention towards
The quiet corner of the courtyard away from the crowds.

She holds a long brush at an angle above the cobblestones,
And dips it into a pail of water. Then, she brings the tip
Onto the stones and writes a T'ang poem from memory,
Of Tu Fu bidding Li Po goodbye under a wintry moon.

Like dragonflies, the characters dip and rise, one moment
On the stone, and in the next becoming mist in the slant
Of sunlight. Soon, she finishes the poem and pauses to view
The last glistening line of words fade into nothingness.

She straightens her back, goes back to the stone she first
Started from and begins yet again. It is said that she knows all
The poems of the T'ang masters by heart. And everyday now,
This is what she does: writing each one lovingly with water

Until the first snow falls






Solsequiem
(after Pablo Picasso's Maternidad, 1905)

She had known ever since she felt
the miracle of his heart quickening in her,
it would end the way it began: her arms
gathering his hurt body again and again
into her indigo mantle, the shield of her love
bringing the world to complete silence.

Today, when the boy limped into the room
of her mending, she laid the ball of thread,
needle and pair of scissors on the footstool
near her ebony chair, and held him close,
right hand tilting his face for her blessing,
her left covering his, cupping a ball,

red and small as his heart upon
his lightsome shoulder. As she bent
to soothe him, death quietly slipped out
and into the world's double horizon
of sienna and cyan, cyan and cerulean,
primary hues of earth meeting sea,

and sea meeting sky. Anchoring this vision
on the woman at the center of a room
mending a child's heart, Picasso tends
to the world before it completely shatters,
his hands shaping a small blue universe
illuminating the script, enfleshing the Word.



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