The Poetry of
Jack Scott


Lives fall like leaves to compost
as if the plummet to extinction
were another form of birth.
Some cling to tree,
to life, tenacious,
rotting on their limbs,

Histories and bones:
lost wax castings of the mind,
time’s jewelry.

Paint the magic pageant
in a private book;
celebrate the ritual
of passing.

Your smile upon it: sunlight.
Your fingers are a kind of rain.
Each page papyrus,
each word, a sprig of ink.

Printing presses writer from the written,
distills his juices willingly to ink,
puts up his loved one for adoptions
into ten thousand foster homes.

Paper is the fullest gift when empty,
the best and most of lovers
to those who meld with it:
a welcome, and a welcome mat.

Page one, the breaking of the ice,
the promise of its thawing;
before postmortem’s cast in bronze
this first love is cast electric .

Page one and printing press,
resurrection in embalming ink,
create and publish me,
bound to be full length.

Will child resemble father,
sliced so thin and spread so far?
Leaves that drop from Maple
can come to rest beneath an Oak.
Will Egypt ever die? Babylon? Atlantis?
For their echoes, whispers, memory,
are we posterity, heirs of Phoenix,
each word parched maize from pyramid
rescued from anhydrous granary
by water sprinkled on each opened leaf
of books’ time tumbled compost.

L8 ®Copyright 1974 Jack Scott. All rights reserved.