Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Death is an Ordinary Moment

Many of the events of this past year have made me more deeply aware of the mysterious and fragile space that marks the difference between life and death.

Death is a moment like any other moment in time, inescapable in its approach, while it also strips away everything except that which really matters.

More than once I have found a way to speak of these things in poetry (for another poem, see HERE). I cannot "explain" or interpret my own poems. I have some sense of how my imagery strikes me, but poetry by nature is concrete and particular. It permits (and sometimes demands) that not all the loose ends be tied. It also insists on the freedom to dialogue with the reader's own perception and imagination.

So I won't pretend that there's any easy accessibility here. I hope there is something evocative for those willing to be patient with the author's efforts.

This poem is serious, even grave, but it is not sad. It is not sad! On that point of interpretation I must insist.

We Fall

(for C.G.)

We fall, we fall, we fall
with fingers still breathing,
stretching away the air,
or curling tight into knuckles,
burrowing holes down to the skin.

We fall, we fall
in long lush fields thick
with riotous wild green grasses
growing,
growing up
into shivering breezes
or still spikes standing against
the face of the sun.

We fall
and break the warm earth
where roots wind down to the dark,
and worms bend thin throbby bodies
exercising elastic muscle,
and fungi spread slow poison
beneath their pale soft sponge clusters.

We fall
into water,
melting drops of water for the thirst
that burns through our bones.
And the water rushes over us,
the fire fades,
the tension of our fingers yields,
borne away beyond reaching
or grasping.

Rivers burst, overflow;
we are flushed hollow and deep, and buried beneath
bare trees soaked in floods of liquid clay.

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