Friday, August 21, 2009

A poem


The jewelweed reminded him:
Being may only be encountered
In particulars — this orange flower-cup
Here, or that yellow one there.
The sky is pale this morning,
As never before, nor ever again.
Outside of now being is memory
Or prophecy, echoes or guesses,
Ancient bones dolled up
In make-believe flesh, fashion’s
Fears and wishes assigned
Their odds and post positions.
Long-dead priests and potentates,
Their postulants and subjects,
Alike are make-believe,
Their passions and intentions
Dust and ashes impossible
To reassemble into bone and sinew.
“So who am I?” he wonders,
And a slant of light between two trees
Prompts him to think of wind slipping
Softly through a cleft in rock.
“I am being created,” he tells himself,
“In the image of a presence invisible
As light and air. I slip into time softly,
Like a breath of wind through a cleft
In rock, or a narrow slant of light
Between a pair of trees. Like priest
And potentate, this flower-cup or that,
I will slip out as well, and be impossible
To reassemble outside of now,
Invisible as the presence I am made of.”

You can hear me read this poem in the podcast at right.


  1. Wonderful poem, and beautifully read too.

  2. Thank you so much, Clare.

  3. Frank, I didn't know you wrote poetry, you old possum! And such an inspiring piece!

  4. A new richness to your work, beautiful. This is not a poem to read in haste, needs many rereadings and reminds me of Eliot's dictum that a poem communicates before it means (see Nigel Beale's recent interview with Anne Enright, Nam Le and Rebecca Rosenblum, where NL cites this, among other delights.)

    The podcasting, of course, is a wonderful plus.

  5. Anonymous1:55 PM

    Lovely, a lot going subtly on.