Where the Oldest Gods Lived by Patricia Nelson


Liliyam Parva Iranian artist

Dark rock and cold, bright water.
Edges of great height, large lines
where sky and shadow move without rest.

Nothing that implies the things
alert and toothed and tilted at the eye,
the little warm cries with large, absurd intentions.

There’s no way to foretell the change
that will dull the rocks
with a callus of creatures.

No animal to eat things smaller
and more beautiful than itself.
Nothing that flees or tricks or dies

among the thoughtlessly strong.
Nothing yet that moves the gods to leave,
to lift like angry waters over black rock.

The old gods see the sky come down
to those alive and temporary, dragging its particles,
making its gradual case for blue or gray or cold.

The sky holds too the gods’ migration,
the odd wish to watch the mortal and the accidental,
to want the foolish awe, the alteration.



Patricia Nelson is a retired attorney who has worked with the Activist group of poets in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her most recent book is Spokes of Dream or Bird, Poetic Matrix Press.


Painting, On Coming News, by Liliyam Parva. Used by permission.


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