The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Nan Becker



One hears it muted proximities.  It is a tender time. 

The brown stillness of the ground listens to the waters

rushing loud.  The ice has sunk under the countenance

of an ardent sun.   Beaks scavenge woozy seedlings

sprouting through scents of decay.  Mossespuny

but steadfast,  breathe once more, once more windows

beautifully open to the panoply where singing comes.

The light lingerslistening are the birds who are saying

what they say, "I am here, come."  "I am here, go." 

They prepare to suffer in the way suffering comes

to who stays for ice and snow, determined weather,

teaching compulsion and inwardness.  Things are enough

for not being there, quietly, where sorrows have settled down 

blanketed beneath a wind too thin to leger and would

not guess the unflinched patience of a bird riding the air,

without wonder, just as the sound of leaves collecting

themselves in a little wind, is rain.  Words come quick

to name and as quick as said, are mistaken.  In this lovely

world, in this night's empty softness, let me not hope

anything from you.





Snow so thick there is neither left nor right. 

Distances concave sky and groundperimeters

whirl.  A bird calibrates its flight as would a falling star. 

All is close as the most intimate thought, without sympathy

or surprisepearlescent, incessant, undulant.  In this white

night, where any thing is no longer a thing, shawled by cold

and silence, I ask nothingthe nothing everything returns to,

comes from.  Regret is only a reflection of a world one never

knew.  Often I wonder about how you and I once were.  Without

impatience, I remember less and less.  Perhaps I am less.  Every

earthly thing has happenedwhy do we live?  Joy has not the

certainty of a rock but passes like a wisp of cloud, a thought,

a memory a memory, delicate, unbiddable and frantic

that leaves us quite alone.





There you are, without reason, a thing unexplained,

woe or hello, the same the same farring away voice,

counterfactual in the habit of living, cupping loved

and ill-loved.  What to do with this moment? It is

skeptical knowledge of what happened as what will. 

This unconceived dangling present abides in-between. 

Elusive as they are, what are memories for?  Evolved

to survive shorter lives, the attachments to another,

require suffering.  Our endurance begins with grief

unforeseen.  The sum of years hereuseful and useless,

with all the peculiarities of me, my want of understanding

amid absences wonderful.  The past, what was once so

long before me, doesn't stay now, yet doesn't leave. 

Nothing I see can answer me.  I am here by accident,

weighted by gentle agonies, the undue joys long past

stone-turning.  There, pooled in silent-softened memories

meaning shrinks back.  You are gone as I am.  Left

is the sun skating off the lake while landing geese pleat

waves.  They swerve as if bumped.  Quarrels ricochet

back and forth the way talking never stops, then does. 

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