Wednesday, February 15, 2017


After the hammer blow, the silence
rocks back and forth: a powdery membrane
a handsbreadth from the ear and keyed
to the faltering rhythm of the heart:

oh beloved

we knew this would be steep,
but we did not know then 
the frailty of knees that are cramped and snagged
by the stillness of a hundred days of dread;

we thought
we would climb with the vigor of young 
clean-bodied ape,

not this hobble.
And at the center, it is nothing but that one same fear
repeated ten thousand different ways. The hammer lifts
and our stunned hand aims again.


all these failures mount to one,
one collapse of bravery:
the inevitable diastole 
of any clench of hope.


Lucy said...

'mind has mountains...'

marly youmans said...

I thought of Coleridge instead of Hopkins, though that is an interesting response from Lucy.

This breathing house not built with hands,
This body that does me grievous wrong,
O'er aery cliffs and glittering sands,
How lightly then it flashed along:—

rbarenblat said...