Necropolis, Vulci, Lazio regione
I arrive, one more uninvited guest.
A June storm coasts down the horizon
Of the volcanic plateau. I trekked hours
To appear before tombs like an earnest
Pilgrim of some kind. I have come alone.
Cumulonimbus broadens above; flowers
Nod in rising wind. A single white horse
Grazes in the valley, slowly consumed
By shadow that pours into the valley.
Whole histories, spread and cooled in their course,
Load this darkened air—Etruscans doomed,
Then Romans, these stones their long finale.
I am summered and slow in withered light;
My flinted veins, my parched fields, grind and ignite.
From Cimarron Review Issue 168, Summer 2009.
“‘Genes clarify the genius and the freak / And prove we descend from a feral band,’ Ernest Hilbert writes in ‘Outsider Art,’ and there is no mistaking the ‘feral’ appetite and intensity of these poems, or the bitter depths of experience they sometimes explore. What makes All of You on the Good Earth such a rare collection, however, is the way Hilbert unites that raw energy with elegant and original language, creating a style that sounds like no one else’s.” — Adam Kirsch