Two Poems by Stephan Delbos



Words rise like mountains from the landscape of the page.
Thunder roars through certain phrases
Whose every jagged ridge reveals
A valley pungent with the musk of earth.

Sheltered in the lean-to of my name,
Overshadowed by cliffs of sheer obsidian,
I sing the voice we give the world.



Trying to Write a Poem Beneath the Statue of Saint Vaclav

Rain slid from holy face to horse's hoof
On streambeds oxidized by eighty-six relentless years.
I was pressed behind the statues, keeping out of wind.
Looking up, I couldn't help but see the horse's bulge
And balls and recall Nabokov's advice:
"Caress the details."

The man in red sweatpants seemed possessed:
Prostrate, praying to the statue of a king,
Scabbed hands out-cupped, catching rain, awaiting blessings.
He shivered in the steel-eyed gaze,
But remained the picture of devotion, unlike his brothers
Sprawled on benches clutching rum-filled rosaries.
Raindrops rippled puddles all around him. Finally,
He stood with crusading eyes, paraded past,
Possessed by his commission.
I stood waiting in the rain for direction,
One authoritative voice.