Feels like a folk gathering
there is dancing—feasting—singing,
orange glow, claustrophilic room.
I heard a villager recite a poem,
“The Concomitance of Souls”
whose magnets only work at close range.
To my surprise I’m also one of them.
It’s strange to think I’d think that that was strange.
There is only goodwill,
there is only faith,
the coming together of the race.
There is only faith.
I wonder what
ten seconds from now
and ten seconds ago
(since I’ll call you by your Christian name),
Your teeth underwent a transformation.
The grass left its signature on your
jeans and white tees
and I thought I heard the sun?
blazing in your
(some say “gold” but I like “amber”)
And your eyes,
the ones in your face,
they’re becoming sapphires
while we browse through files together,
(at your desk)
I don’t know what to do about that.
and to end where I began—
they’re the shade I once saw
sported on a little white egg timer,
which, being always kept near the kettle,
had gotten just the tiniest bit
How to proceed
when “tomorrow” is blasphemy?
He was not deserving of this,
that his heat should run out;
he was a burning lamp whose light
we chose for a time to enjoy.
He fell, rose, and turned to stone,
and on the third day died again.
The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away;
and the Lord gives.
Twas warm, wet, and windy out
and smelled of what we farming folk
call the spring perfume, and melting snow.
I headed down to Silver Creek
the flooded banks to see, roamed
tan ghosts of reeds that are the shore,
and found some beaver’s branch:
Heavy, I said, this ought
to batter down some dams.
And flung it to the flood,
walked and shared its road,
caught in morasses of dead wood,
time and again set free. I thought:
How I long the stick were me,
going no direction but my own,
sticking, being loosed with sticks
by some young god attending.
Or get caught up for good
at the head of a minor falls
beside the great wedged heroes
of before my day, washed cleaner
by the passing world; or hey!
He draws me up again—
I could spend the rest of life on land,
but lo! He casteth me in again.
The journey rebegins.
I thought of what I’ll say to the policeman
who finds me snooping Upper Canada.
“I’m just walking, something more exciting
than staying on the path…” (“What could be
more exciting than staying on the path?”)
Or the defence I’ll give to the girl who says
I should keep shoes clean, not muddy ’em
in perils to free some stick that will be stuck
again. To understand me all you’ve got
is to see that one I want to do,
the other not.
Thank you for this place,
for bare feet, and shades of green;
thank you even for mosquitoes—
for creating them, I mean.
The marksmen are no longer shooting
who pierced in my childhood my brow
In lieu of the pitiless poets’ verse
I must pierce it now.