June 10, 2017

Three Poems by Douglas G. Campbell: "Wrestling with an Angel," "Within the Thistle's Thorns," and "Within Summer Within Darkness"

Douglas G. Campbell lives in Portland, Oregon. He is Professor Emeritus of art at George Fox University where he taught painting, printmaking, drawing and art history courses. He is also the author of Turning Radius (Oblique Voices Press 2017), Seeing: When Art and Faith Intersect, (University Press of America, 2002), Parktails, (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2012), and Facing the Light: The Art of Douglas Campbell, (Oblique Voices Press, 2012). His poetry and artworks have been published in a number of periodicals and his artwork is represented in collections such as The Portland Art Museum, Oregon State University, Ashforth Pacific, Inc. and George Fox University.

Wrestling With An Angel

Arms stronger than my own
have bent me down
until my skin mingles
with our earth's cold stones.

Many times I have been pinned
lungs gasping, heart drumming
a violent, urgent rhythm,
my mouth pressed urgently
into the gravel of my path.

I am assailed unceasingly,
no feather-soft wings impede
this contest played out
within the dreams I live.

No, I do not limp,
my hip joint
is secure in its socket
and I have seen no stairs
leading upward to the clouds.

Unlike Jacob, I am bested
in almost every round,
each bell finds me aching,
my back hugging raw earth.

Death's minions jeer and taunt
filling brain with pious rage,
I am tempted to give in,
to let death’s soft sentences
write my obituary on the sand.

But while I fight I breathe life;
perhaps to struggle is to win,
to give in, to cease
brings only death's small pity
to fill eternity’s ears.

Within The Thistle’s Thorns

A thick carpet of dust
has swallowed my boots
the dry thin boned
fingers of sagebrush
lick the sweat
wrung from my clothing

horses have fled
the dry hollow cheeks
of my streams starvation
the mountain's wind
springs from a coyote’s throat
to devour my food
except for the celery
buried deep
within the thistle's thorns
and the white flesh clinging
to the thin white spine
among the shadows of a gaunt trout

a sleepwalker's brain
is my compass
between lost memories
within the fog of night
I walk among boulders
slowly descending

Within Summer Within Darkness

Within summer
within darkness
when the moon climbs mountains
when the light comes slowly
collecting thin clouds collecting winged shadows
shadows gathering sky along ridgetops
among blueberries
among bulbous stunted limbs
windcrippled fingers balance the moon
between stone teeth.

Within summer
within darkness
when empty deer tracks fill the valleys
when ears follow the roaring streams
ears winding between roots
voices tangled within dog hobble
among patterns of fern
the crunch of last year’s leaves
my blind toes wander
as I peel snails from reflections
of the liquid brain washing itself
waves of regeneration
known too by the moon's children
lost within the round eyed stones.

© Douglas G. Campbell

Total Pageviews