JLC (1967 / Galesburg, Illinois)

One Blue Buffalo (Sestina)

Snow swirled and blew over the plain
the minutes melted into hours
the frosted buffalo stood still
solid against the breath of time
it faced life and death with scotch
colored eyes, affected by nothing and no one

each winter struggle the buffalo won
illustrated mastery of blue sky and plain—
wicked winds and flying ice could not scotch
survival that desperately depended on each hour
it was the buffalo’s time—the natives’ time
and without hesitation it remained still

history remembers lost time, still
it is accepted by most and accurate to no one
misrepresentations are drawn by this time—
what happened on the buffalo’s plain
or in the blue of each pond, each hour
history changes—reality is scotched

wicked truths, told through fifths of Scotch
through the gaze of the present hold time still,
moments disregard the buffalo to becomes ours,
the blue past of many is unwillingly chained to one—
ancient sunsets over purple and yellow plains
are prisoners of industry, technology, history and time

ancient senses remain unaffected by lavender, sage or thyme
they cannot revive what books have done to scotch
the blue buffalo that dotted the wicked plain
the petrified past is bound to remain still,
years, days, faces, herds, species become one—
books have the inability to retrieve a single hour

or a history that is the buffalo’s, the natives’, ours
when books are replaced by computers, in time,
history will be reborn, all of our days will become one
technology will distort this time, scotch
our truths, a hundred thousand sunsets will remain still
billions of blue lives will paint a picture that’s plain

our truths and a past we’ll never know become scotched
time is irrelevant when lives mesh to singular sights—everything’s still
one blue buffalo stands on a museum wall in the whirl of winter winds, silent against time’s plain

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Edgar Allan Poe

Annabel Lee

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