~ Galway Kinnell
 
     so beautiful it leaves me speechless.

Two Seasons ~

1
The stars were wild that summer evening
As on the low lake shore stood you and I
And every time I caught your flashing eye
Or heard your voice discourse on anything
It seemed a star went burning down the sky.

I looked into your heart that dying summer
And found your silent woman's heart grown wild
Whereupon you turned to me and smiled
Saying you felt afraid but that you were
Weary of being mute and undefiled

2
I spoke to you that last winter morning
Watching the wind smoke snow across the ice
Told of how the beauty of your spirit, flesh,
And smile had made day break at night and spring
Burst beauty in the wasting winter's place.

You did not answer when I spoke, but stood
As if that wistful part of you, your sorrow,
Were blown about in fitful winds below;
Your eyes replied your worn heart wished it could
Again be white and silent as the snow.
 

The Burn ~

Twelve years ago I came here
to wander across burnt land,
I had only begun to know
the kind of pain others endure,
I was too full of sorrows.
Now, on the dirt road
that winds beside the Kilchis River
to the sea, saplings
on all the hills, I go deep
into the first forest of Douglas firs
shimmering out of prehistory,
a strange shine up where the tops
shut out the sky, whose roots
feed in the waters of the rainbow trout.
And here, at my feet, in the grain
of a burnt log opened by a riverfall,
the clear
swirls of the creation.  At the
San Francisco airport, Charlotte,
where yesterday my arms
died around you like old snakeskins, the puffed
needletracks on your arms
marked how the veins wander.
I see you walking like a somnambulist
through a poppy field, blind
as myself on this dirt road, tiny
flowers brightening about you,
the skills of fire, of fanning
the blossoms until they die,
perfected; only the power to nurture
and make whole, only love,
impossible.  The mouth of the river.
On these beaches
the sea throws itself down, in flames.
 

Under the Maud Moon ~

On the path,
by this wet site
of old fires --
black ashes, black stones, where tramps
must have squatted down,
gnawing on stream water,
unhouseling themselves themselves on cursed bread,
failing to get warm at a twigfire --

I stop,
gather wet wood,
cut dry shavings, and for her,
whose face
I held in my hands
a few hours, whom I gave back
only to keep holding the space where she was,

I light
a small fire in the rain....



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