BEAM 30: The Garden

for Patricia Anderson

“To do as Adam did”

through the twilight’s fluoride glare Mercury in perihelion   

(rotating exactly three times   

while circling the sun twice)   

to Pluto foot tilt up the slide at either plane   

and build a Garden of the brain.   

Internetted eternities, interspersed   

with cypresses   

ply ringed air about the many spectacled apples there.   

Flamestitch niches orb in swivel orb, The Muses thrush at center   

turning. Phospheros arborescens they sing   


struck crystal clarities   

to knock the knees   

(or scarlet hollyhock, against a near blue sky).   

No end of fountains lost among the shrubberies full eye may bare.   

Fixed stars   

with fireflies jam the lilac.   

The Lord is a delicate hammerer.   

Gold hive upon gray matter   

He taps synapse (“carrying to”) (“carrying away”)   

an immense bronze pinecone moon-knit at the end of a vista   

of sunny jets d’eau, silver poplars. All   

shivered in a pool.   

Literally, a flowing: form-take-hand   


(That Which Fasteneth Us)   

pillar to pillar the great dance arch itself through all that   

is or was or will be, 3/4 time. This will be a glade   

at the head of one stream   

and a resonant gnomon before it will stretch regions of signaling   

gnat-like resiliencies in the atmosphere   

of where we are —

or were.   

Or will be, when the mingled frame of mind   

of man is celebration.   

Gates, which separate the wings   

of tiered ilex, open

in caverns of atoms passing from one into another’s zenith   

of periodic movement, vast helicoidal shift:   

a vaulting of arteries

beating their heads against the dark.   

This is the body of light.

Vertically in a chromatic spread chord   

— Elysian elision —

J’avais bâti, dans un rêve, un palais, un château ou des   


along the lines of sight.

Dear Garden:   

This is the way the world begins, the word begins.   

Through here,   

where grow the galax and aster together,   

I have planted Shadow illuminating The Field of Glittering   


ange arc-en-ciel

flocons de neige

I have attempted a temple as if hierarchies of music   

beating against time gone adagio, that is the Secret Pool we return   

to. And not to stone   

but to the world behind its human   


This is the way the word begins, the world begins,   

wrestling the old ineffable to Bosch’s amazing white giraffe

— or St. Rousseau   

intent a symmetry of whisker.   

Love itself is a kind of mirage nesting it all   

together. Around a center   

no one can see the end of at the Well of The Bottomless,   

I have placed parallels of bright guardians   

“along with the trill   

of the Nightingale,   

and the call of the European quail”   

as in The Pastoral.   




“I have refracted it with Prismes, and reflected with it Bodies which in Day-

light were of other colours; I have intercepted it with the coloured film of Air

interceding two compressed plates of glass; transmitted it through coloured

Mediums, and through Mediums irradiated with other sorts of Rays, and

diversly terminated it; and yet could never produce any new colour out of it.

But the most surprising, and wonderful composition was that

                                              of Whiteness.”

Ronald Johnson, “BEAM 30: The Garden,” from ARK, published in 1996 by Living Batch Press. Reprinted by permission of the Literary Estate of Ronald Johnson.
Source: ARK (1996)
More Poems by Ronald Johnson