Thursday, November 29, 2012


Fog-infected the morning, cold
and damp as a fever-broken brow.
They were lost to me beyond the fog,
geese overhead, all noise
and no substance, like memories,
calling back and forth to each other.
Me, land-locked, with places to go
and no wings.  I gave them up long ago,
turned them in with my slighter dreams.
Every fall I wish them back.  
Gladly I would fly away, answer the call.
Happy to know where I was going.

The Pond

Was it more sky than water?
Of course, more water, but the sky
was evident in the reflection.
The pond stared unblinking
speaking only gray clouds until
the muted daylight was gone. Geese,
two of them, skidded to a stop
across it just as night cleared
its throat.

The Heron

Counts it bad luck
to stand in water all day
one leg wet is enough
he tucks the other tightly away
his needle-beak ever poised
above his marshy dinner plate
he doesn't even like fish
you can see it in his reserve
that stiff narrow gray disgust

Clarity, The Answer

                                Is the clarity, the simplicity, an arriving or an emptying out?
                                If the heart persists in waiting, does it begin to lessen?
                                If we are always good does God lose track of us?  Jack Gilbert, The Answer

If we are always good, does God lose track
of us?  What comfort is there in hoping now-
the heart nearer the end than the beginning?
You lie beside me doubting, numbering fears
the way I number blessings.  You wake
in the night and feel something important
standing there.  Sleep lost to you, you rise
to stare at your gray reflection under the bathroom light. 
There is your clarity, your promise, as long as the eyes
open.  There is your revelation.  The silence in you
is absolute and inconvenient.  I cannot enter into it
with you.  I kiss you and want to tell you
in a meaningful way:  I remember
a morning at the beach when I was a girl.
It was so early it was both dawn and night. 
The wind pulled at my hair and stirred the grasses
where I sat on the white sand dune. 
My family was far down the shore. 
Near me, a heron rose blue-gray against the palest
part of the sky.  The music of the waves
played for me alone, and
kept playing when I was gone.

This is a Response poem to Jack Gilbert's  The Answer.  Here is Mr. Gilbert's poem:

Is the clarity, the simplicity, an arriving
or an emptying out?  If the heart persists
in waiting, does it begin to lessen?
If we are always good does God lose track
of us?  When I wake at night, there is 
something important there.  Like the humming
of giant turbines in the high-ceilinged stations 
in the slums.  There is silence in me,
absolute and inconvenient.  I am haunted
by the day I walked through the Greek village 
where everyone was asleep and somebody began
playing Chopin, slowly, faintly, inside
the upper floor of a plain white stone house.

Enough of Fairy Tales

When will I be good enough for you
to love?  Shall I weave thistles
into clothes?  Turn straw to gold

enough ransom to buy back your favor?
There are fables enough of wicked
parents-mostly mothers.  Stories
peopled with forlorn children-mostly daughters- the purer
their hearts the more dire the circumstance.
Maybe if fathers told the stories- some fathers-
instead of mothers, the daughters
would all be safe long before the necessary evils threatened.
Mothers adore happy endings, morality
plays, coated salty and sweet.  
All’s well that ends well enough.

My story.  It’s too sad.  There is never
a happy ending.  It only begins.
Once she had a father.  And then,
it ends.