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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

In the Shadow of the Mission

Santa Barbara Mission

The sun dies into pink smog off Goleta
and over toward Point Conception
the violet reptiles of the night
begin to slide across the sky
like pieces of neon tubing.

The building blocks of a superior logic
seem to slip into place
with a quiet authority. The moon comes up.
There is a small click. It is evening.

It is of course the protected
evening of the very rich
who do not like to lean
into the wind. They stand, the pair
beyond the camphor tree on Laguna Street
bathing in its fragrance. Two old ladies.
Perhaps they are not very rich after all.
It may be just the blue hair that fooled me.

It may have been the failing light.
It may have been the falling rose-colored
flowers of the pink flame tree,
or pieces of their pods,
which are covered with rusty wool,
that fell through the air
and affected my vision.

It may have been the pollen in the air,
the fluffy cotton heads which have
just burst from the floss-silk trees,
or floating strands of the dark
hair-like fibers that are
shed by the fortune palms
whenever the breeze arises.

Santa Barbara Mission: Gilbert Arthur Hill, 1924

1 comment:

Zephirine said...

I really like this group of 'fortune palms' poems, and this painting is a wonderful match.

Lovely stuff.