Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Whole and Full of Light

When the grief rises
because of
an archbishop shot and left
in the gutter, or because of
children –
(but no poem can stand that;
you know that story
even better than I. Start again.) 

When, on a soft afternoon
the light all washes away,

when I wonder
if any of the others
cast away from that same shipwreck
ever think of me, ever think of me
kindly – 

listen –
I am not, never was,
a symptom of your mental disease,
nor am I wanting to open
doors well closed for good reasons.
I am not one to get drunk
and send an email
as if nothing ever happened;
and if I am maudlin at times
it is only because, as a poet,
these things are incumbent upon me.

You said
(this was long ago!)
you would miss having someone
to write you poems.

Which was sweet, I think.

Now, when a bird whistles
twice with the same note
(like a gate shifted back and forth
by a worn man who wonders
if it's latched, and finds it's not)
twice with the same note
followed by a low, ancient,
complicated murmur,

when the leaves cast so many
shadows that
I think “I am underwater,”
and the sun is hidden
behind not only cloud,
but a drench of something
thicker and older than water;

well –

then, I find myself
considering that
the palm of my hand
once rested on your hair
when you were half-asleep,
and that stars, where no stars are ever seen
poured down
on our broken lives –

and then, I foolishly wish
for news from a far country,
for travelers' reports to say
they saw you laughing, that they saw you
whole and full of light.


Dick said...

This is beautiful, Dale. I like very much the discursive looping away from and returning to its theme. So many glorious metaphors and similes. I
love this: '...like a gate shifted back and forth by a worn man who wonders if it is latched, and finds it's not'. A triumph throughout.

Rouchswalwe said...

A wonderful poem, Dale!

Sabine said...

Oh Dale, this is a gem.

Lucy said...

I'm not sure I've ever read anything I cared for better. I too love that bird-gate-worn man hinge in the middle.

A wonder.

Dale said...

Wow, thank you so much, all!

NT said...

Now THAT'S what I call a love poem.

Dale said...

:-) Thanks, dear Nina.

rbarenblat said...

Oh, dear dale, this is beautiful.

Dale said...

Thank you, Rachel!

Christi Krug said...

Oh, wonderful. I could hold this for a long time: "(like a gate shifted back and forth
by a worn man who wonders
if it's latched, and finds it's not)"

Dale said...

Thank you, Christi!