"the stone that the builders rejected
has become the Cornerstone"
for Sam Weller with gratitude hopefully
from us all...and to Ray Bradbury with sorrow
for beauty for possibility lost
(the children's vivid field trips to the old magician's haunts)
can houses go to Heaven?
at least, where they lived.
hived and the violet rains swept through;
a carnival whine of train whistles.
where will their ghosts go now?
they'll linger somehow
near the new swimming pool.
where the new lodgers view
(the ones with second sight, it they're lucky)
pearl dredged, the vast
and Christmas migrations of his words;
no more the house where the fantastic figured.
a man padding in bare feet to the midnight fridge
devoured cheese sandwiches, picked pickled books off a
shelf or two
luxuriating in his own stores...
and dreamed his readers knew him.
but history shifts when the wrecking crews show up.
on any dazzling day in 1962,
the constructors deconstructed?
can you alter a vision once it's envisioned?
even without the window,
God still sees
do we do we-
some things, you can't excise
the stucco fading to tangerine in the sunrise,
who comes now to displace, being wiser than
music, past the clock of hearing.
we're not buying it!
someone removes a phrase, a shelf, perhaps a roof
when no one's looking but the clouds
and then it's gone. at least, the shell of it.
it rained the day they took the roof off
the newspaper read.
as if the skies were weeping...
small goldenrod things crept near
keening in the debris:
and readers throughout the world.
these dreams can come and go no matter what
the planners plan.and they don't really understand
that censored visions, buildings reappear to children
in the after years
beyond all earthly zoning.
and in the neighborhoods with curbed appeals
old monuments resurface in the magma..or
start bobbing up
in a summer lake with the wounded dinosaurs.
oh it's so searing this has come to pass. alas
the house cried out in vain, while everyone was at work
at the book store, ice cream parlour
and then, whirled off (and All Souls with it)
like the house in Oz...remaining in a far kingdom
the grass could grow as tall as it wanted there or
disconsolate the green trees sigh all the way from Waukeegan, ah
amber preserves but not Los Angeles
where eggs could have been fried...
July rockets launched:
or gather the movie moguls here to stop this!
but once dismantled there's no going back.
alack alack unless
invisibly the house transformed itself
well out of view enacting its own Bradbury tale of
all shadows tucked in to the very touch of the curtains
at the windows
dreaming itself apart from Time, letting go into
a better berried clime and
plank by plank chimney brick by brick
clickety clack on the typewritten track
his golden lore no more no more
that missed the wearer, mystically removed from here
(its inner self)
and by Whose hand? lifted gently from the land.
and only babies knew;though
children hoped, as they wondered, cherry bright again.
oh do not fear sighed sunflower angels mending
this scarred landscape
whenever it looks like, on this side
where you need stories to get by
as if the undertakers had won! wheeling their barrows
of the stripped down walls
carted off to charities...
where's charity in this? I sorrowed
in a nightmare land:
our pilgrammage forever.
or it had wings to fly, that buttercream house
reading over his shoulder, (all butter pecan and dreamy)
for 50 odd years as the notion slowly formed though it
grew paler than pumpkins toward the end
at what it had to do...and railed at
losing its butterscotch perch or porch?
it dimly reasoned,
"out of all Seasons now!"
through tears I see
what it saw
right down to the sawdust floor
of the Circus really leaving town
on a day perhaps of cotton candy clouds...
to the coffee grounds of a well made story
you won't perk again (it thought,
more than a little overwrought);
it huddled closer to the Sun.
but what's done is done
the story book house is overcome by the
bulldozers no longer dozing by the raspberry shrubs.
then it arose
like a wondrous yellow cake
about to be crowned with frosting oh my friends
while it chimed it chimed like a carillon:
there is- there is- no End!
where Ray eternally presides,
and he'll look up with a glad surmise
(a booming I told you so)
when we'll drop by someday to see the house spiffed up.
the haloed cream drenched apple fritters fried
and pour with him the dandelion wine-
fine toasts to the yellow house!
when it's our Time, when it's our Time
P.S. I am not making this up. an incredible synchronicity... On feb 25 at 8:58 a.m. as I was revising this poem again and lingering on the phrase "I told you so" wondering what I meant by it exactly
the local radio station (wsjs) announcer said just before the newsbreak: "You might get a chance to go to Mars...forever. more in a minute..."
so that's how I knew the poem was finally done, fork-tested.