Thursday, November 29, 2012

Clarity, The Answer


Clarity
                                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.

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