It has a voice, you know. It can form
Words and does, tossing them into the soul
To see the shapes they make, or calls to us of time
And how it too lacks a voice as it keens across
The silver edge of morning and repeats our lives
To us as we try to sleep. We gather it to ourselves
Again and again.
I will make you a whisper, oh yes, I will.
But it too will dress in silence, in the service
Of the stillness easing forward then retreating,
Making sure it is repeating all we’ve heard
In dreams and dreaming. Here, a far and bejeweled
Land. We cannot hold it with our breath,
We cannot touch it with our hands.
And like the late returning crows, high above
The darkening of the trees, wings fully engaged,
Headed for some secret roost, it moves too
In silence, giving it its name, dressing it in satins,
Pearls and darker things that may move in the night,
Pour over us in perverse delight, knowing it is silence.
Telling us it is silence, parading here before us,
Passing from our sight to dwell within our souls,
To charm these pristine moments, to set the world aright.
FENCES MEAN NOTHING TO COYOTES
They are the ghosts of the land. They
Are a wandering of the night, walking
To claim its own. There is no question
Here at all. Sheep can see them, but
To us they are fleeting forms put together
By silences and the wind, a singular,
Momentary brightness in the eye
And then, nothing. A field of bones
And teeth, scabs of tree trunks littering
What we thought were meadows.
When we are no longer there,
They drag whatever they have discovered
Might be called food into the middle
Of this place, tear it to pieces with eating.
We hear their howling from our home,
A catching of some wind, calling back, amused.
END OF SUMMER
for Taylor Graham
Something burrowed underground
Taking what was left of the season
With it. I can hear its breathing
Through the lace of the willow leaves
Across the yard. It is a deep sighing,
Perhaps the Summer moving through
The last of its responsibilities, a gesture
Toward the migrations of birds, the charms
Autumn has begun to collect for its own
Carnival, the earth becoming its own dreaming.
We used to walk along the edge of the park in the late evenings
of Summer. The light was, so it seemed, always perfect. The
best show was forever the sky flying by with its dream cloth
spreading toward the night. On good nights we could see the
evening itself seated at a picnic table looking at the flights of
birds criss-crossing the colored air. On the best evenings he
would wave toward us and we would be filled with a child joy
at just being there at that time. In the rain evenings of Winter,
in our coats, we could see that time also was dressed in gray
gloves and heavy boots, bundled against the cold. Everything
seemed to turn on these events. They did not seem a fiction
but on our age they confer a glow that is beyond words yet full
of description. We can watch so many others from this ridge
of the season. We talk about it this evening as we walk
together in this same place.
LOST, THEN FOUND AGAIN
I find it hard to believe
That you live without wonder,
Wandering some plain that
Allows all to see your steps
But never see the shame
That spins you through
Your sand castles without
Ever a thought. You must
Find it most difficult
To hear the truth when
It comes to your heart
As a small child or a fellow
Traveler asking you if you’ve
Found honor. And you say
“What?” and perhaps it is
Your first question ever.
The sun, the bright,
Please consider what you
Should do. We wake up
On a splendid morning
Discovering we have hands
That are able to perform
All manner of wonderful
Things. Come closer.
I will embrace you.
The road seems too light to murder,
But I say no. Come into
These arms and we will
Live here all night,
Listening to the crickets
And the night making its rounds.
FROM THE BOOK OF DAYS:
A FOLK TALE FROM THE HILLS
We have never been allowed to go into the hills surrounding
this village. Winds come up as soon as we leave the valley
floor. Hard weather surrounds us. The air fills with noises
and lightning comes from all quarters. With this singular ex-
ception ours is a fair place and our lives fill with activities,
children and dreaming.
It is with the dreaming that we have discovered a most unex-
pected, significant phenomenon. In this state we have found
that we can freely move into the highlands and are able to see
the great seas beyond our lands.
In the mornings we share our tales of these dream places;
what we have seen, how it is in these places. For many years
we have performed this exercise.
This last week, it was agreed we should all have this same
dream together and wake up above the valley, in the highlands.
We did so.
Waking itself is a kind of storm. To move higher and away
from what we know everyday requires great courage. To dream
is to agree that a particular reality might be an achievable
possibility. This is indeed a great thing, especially when this
vision becomes a common goal.
We watch you now from this high place and wish you to join us
here. The view is one you have never seen. To show you the
way we now create great storms and flash electricity through
the air, cause winds to blow and offer mystery without words.
It would be a wonder true if these words were ever to be seen
by any of you. We will dream that they are.
Somewhere near the end of this
Poem the land will give way
To the edge of the sea and a star
Will rise over the waves. It will
Seem a magical thing. The trees
Will be still, breathing the night
For us as we wait patiently.
The end of the gravel road
Is just ahead. As soon as
We round this last bend in