Sunday, March 06, 2011

Simple Sad Serious Things (Part 8)

"And if they were waking an image in us,
the endlessly dead,
look: they'd be pointing
to catkins handing from empty hazels
or the rain
down-falling a dark soil bed
in early spring..."

Rilke. Remembered.
And let's also remember
the water-logged earth,
the city parks marshy.
Hinting at renewal--
the rains of life,
the wet, black boughs
and steam. Inside,
we feel utterly empty--
and in that exhaustion
we are made the perfect vessel.
Don't forget the etiolated grass,
my beholding! Don't forget
the wordlessness of Will.
For it is by accident,
mute accident that we have lived.
For it is by surrender and grace
that each blade lives. And rises
spring after spring.

There is a tower rising out of the ivy,
rising like a chorus,
rising beyond us into the low-lying clouds.
There are angel statues with downcast eyes.
There are coats walking around down here,
long beaten, long comfortable in
defeated repose. Somber statues
in uniform coats. Statues of
hollow-eyed World War 1 aviators,
degraded lions guarding the Taoist temple,
dragon statues with peeling red paint.
Metal sculptures of firefighters
carrying children--but walled off
with yellow police tape. And beyond:
the stratus cloud, and the anemic sun.

Rilke is a poet of spring,
and I am a writer of winter,
of hanging up the plough.
But remember, temperament:
remember, beholding.
The thaw is the start
of pestilential changes.

Consider: "Honesty is the best poetry."


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