Selected poems by mary barnard (1909 2001) The following are from

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(note: refers to Ezra Pound) CP 44
I shall be

an historic

figure also,

Mr. Achilles.

One digit in

one of Gibbon’s

many footnotes

will denote ME! CP 66


They are heard as a choir of seven

shining voices; they descend

like a flock of wild swans to the water.
The white wing plumage folds;

they float on the lake – seven

stars reflected among the reeds.
Tonight, the Seven Little Sisters,

daughters of the Moon will come down

to bathe or wash their summer dresses.
They wear costumes of the seven

rainbow colors, they wear feather

mantles they can lift in sea winds
raised by their singing, and so rise

flying, soaring, until they fade

as the moon dawns; their voices dwindle
and die out in the North Woods, over

Australian bush, from Spartan

dancing grounds and African beaches.
They have returned to the sky

for the last time, and even

Electra’s weeping over Troy is stilled.
What girl or star sings now

like a swan on the Yellow River? CP 89;

Time and the White Tigress 18

The following is from Time and the White Tigress. Portland, OR: Breitenbush Books, 1986. Linocut illustrations and line drawing by Anita Bigelow. Winner of the Western States Book Award for poetry.

CODA: Song for the New Year

The Pleiades slide into place

At midnight over the smoke-hole….

A star that was lost in daylight

reappears at dawn (heliacal

rising) glittering in pale sky….
The moon, too, dies in light

and returns at dusk, a crescent

signaling with sun and star

time at its turning-point.

Sea-kingdoms trumpet the news

through their winding shells,

but shepherds through ram’s horns;

bells clang in the steeples.

Time now to empty your houses

of ghosts and the year’s rubbish;

chain dancers prance through the streets

and turn into dragons; firecrackers

pop; steam-whistles shriek.
The event is both social and astral,

an end, but not final,

a beginning that will end:

a serpent with his tail tucked into his mouth. TWT 60

Elizabeth Bell

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