From and About Rain Psalm
Rain Psalm by Victoria Ford "Victoria Ford's poems are at once modest and courageous, cut clean and sure without malice or intrusive ego. I welcome her poems like a good neighbor."
—Sam Hamill
"In the poems in Rain Psalm, Victoria Ford brings her eye and ear and heart to all inhabitants of the land-human and flora and fauna…. Her poems of the earth are generous in both their observation and their reverence."
—Pattiann Rogers


  the fog rises at night
  from the lake, and it clouds
  the towers, the centers
  of concrete and glass, and in the morning
  migrating sparrows, robins, and thrushes
  lie like raindrops on the streets;

  other birds follow
  lights of the buildings
  around and around like moths
  all night, working the air,
  until breast and wing
  sink into mist;

  but some managers turn
  off the top lights of their sky-
  scrapers, and when the night clears
  to a star, the birds
  slip through
  the open doors of the dark.


				Barrow, Alaska
				October, 1988

  Into the air, three heads
  rise like a sigh,
  gray and barnacled

  and bloody, trading
  skin with the ice
  and testing dreams.

  They nose from hole
  to breathing hole, following
  the incisions of men, who rest

  their chain saws and reach out
  with fur-covered hands
  to touch a weathered head

  as though it were a rose.
  A whale dies in the first freeze
  as easily as a flower.

  A hundred years ago
  we killed enough
  of the California grays

  to put them out of bloom; now
  with these two before us
  full of oil and meat,

  we grasp mittens and hope
  instead of harpoons, and 
  somewhere in the depths

  of light and hunger, we breathe
  more than assume
  another's dream,

  as it bubbles to the surface,
  breaching, shooting
  irises into the air.


  on a wisp,
  as air
  lobe, vein,
  and the temperature
  of ready; it fades
  into others
  on rooftops, cars,

  lifts, breathes them
  beyond the last crumble
  of stem and skin,
  throbbing as atoms,
  converts to air
  that make it
  possible to know
  immortality passing
  through our lungs.

Copyright © 1996 by Victoria Ford

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