Noel Cobb

The Gazelle of the Ghazal

Say there is a poetry of praise: Say of the animal,
Moving in time to its own music and distinctive gait
Through the animated cosmos of the poem.

Rilke showed us how the animal of language moves,
Pacing like a panther behind bars or charged with leaps,
But not fired - like the legs of a listening gazelle.

The gazelle of the ghazal leaps to freedom
Through the poem's clearings. Tiresias' daughter learned
To see from her blind father. Cobras kept her company.

Poetry, as Lorca tells us, should not be
'Understandable'. It is an arsenic lobster
Ready to fall on the heads of smug logicians.

Each time a Bushman mother lifts a newborn baby
To the stars, asking them to give it the heart of a star,
Somewhere else a hundred thousand flowers bloom.

The profiteering soul has no enthusiasm for praise,
For extravagance or beauty or delight in Being.
Maybe that is why the nightingales have disappeared.