The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Mary Ann Larkin


I saw my golden-haired son
leap in a green meadow,
making the mess of my life golden too.
And I wrote it down, how he leapt
in a green yard in Pennsylvania,
scribbled it in a book’s margin.
Later, I sat alone
in a field of goldenrod
and wrote that down too.
And when I went back to my life,
I told Barbara: “I think I wrote a poem.”
I read it to her—pages and pages
to my patient beautiful friend—
dead now for decades.
“Why,” she said, “it’s a hymn to goldenrod.”
I still see her grace, her gravity, her carefulness
as she listened, and, now, I play it all back:
the goldenrod and the listening,
Barbara’s blue eyes, her chin in her hand.
But even today, I can find no words
for that listening.
I need a metaphor,
the way everything sacred does
for what’s unsayable and rare,
for what floats just above speech,
for what lasts: hard and unearned.

Copyright 2006-2012 by Cook Communication