They pop up in various places throughout the novel — eight poems of varying length and tone. One is attributed to the character, Wilton: the song, “Always Loving You.” The next six are attributed to one or more of the other characters, and you’ll learn who that might be as you read the story.

Here they are according to the sequence in which they appear in the book.

Spider eyes stare down at me.
I stare back at eight with two.
What in my world do those eyes see?
And with six more, what would I view?

Know Me
I prefer fast or slow in a saddle
To the white-knuckle speed of a car.
I prefer sound and odor of cattle
To the olfactory insult of tar.

I am happier sleeping on hillsides
Than in hotels with valets and locks,
And I’m healthier eating wild berries
Than consuming what’s sold in a box.

I’ll take the still hour before sunrise
Over midnight’s interminable gong
And an evening in any small library
Over music and drinks in a throng.

You’ve not asked but I’ve told you what matters —
What I look for in both pace and place
And I’d spend all eternity with you
If, when there, I could see your kind face.

My bubble is sealed in a glaze,
Within it I breathe in a haze.
It neither expands nor contracts,
Nor admits new emotions or facts.

With my mind an unraveling bight
My sad soul's tear-stained spirit's a sight.
And yet, outward I may seem unfazed
In my vesicle fragile and crazed.

Words I Would Say
A voice, and a word crossing space —
A sound, a disturbance in air.
But a word on the air leaves no trace,
You may hear it, but then it’s not there.

If I utter it softly, you hear,
If I whisper, who’d know it was done?
But, if softly and you are not near,
Then both whispered and thought are as one.

I would offer my words to the wind
If I thought they would fall to the ground
And if I could choose who, in the end,
Were the soul by whom they would be found.

Do you wonder what words I would say?
Do you wish that you already knew?
The air may receive them some day
When I want you to hear: ‘I love you.’

[no title]
Cryptic space
No, I can’t stay
Wave me away

Shuffling feet
Slow, yet I flee
You’ve set me free

Pillow time
Near me you lie
In my mind’s eye

Spurning home
Why?  So I’ll know
Where I must go

Something true
Should I tell you
What we both know?

Yearning, we
Yes, and now I
Yield to our tie

See?
See that heap of husks behind me?
Hollow casts of days now past,
Husks that haunt and since remind me,
Shells of hopes that died at last.

See those pots erect before me?
Vessels full with days to come,
Each one dull and bound to bore me,
Each a ringing, vacant drum.

See this gaunt half-soul in tatters?
Sentinel with one intent:
Find the other half that matters;
Mend the halves now flayed and rent.

See the sense in this confusion?
Product of men’s need to reign,
Fostered by the bold illusion:
Follow him!  He’ll quash your pain.

See the pain, not soon extinguished?
How so many who are bruised,
Keep the bed in which they’ve languished,
Unaware how they’ve been used!

The last example of verse in the book is attributed to Tasunka Kokipapi, an Oglala chief of the mid-1800s. Although this verse is entirely fabricated for the book, it is intended to represent his other sayings and advice.

Our lives are as but a day.
Our shadows are as spirits,
Yours touching mine on the earth
Even when we stand apart.

At end of day our shadows become one with night.
We are still here, only the light is gone.
At end of life our spirits become one with all
We are not gone, only no longer seen.

=David A. Woodbury=

One thought on “POEMS IN C.M.S.

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