Tag Archives: poet

The Light Keeper

A night without ships. Foghorns called into walled cloud, and you

still alive, drawn to the light as if it were a fire kept by monks,

darkness once crusted with stars, but now death-dark as you sail inward.

Through wild gorse and sea wrack, through heather and torn wool

you ran, pulling me by the hand, so I might see this for once in my life:

the spin and spin of light, the whirring of it, light in search of the lost,

there since the era of fire, era of candles and hollow-wick lamps,

whale oil and solid wick, colza and lard, kerosene and carbide,

the signal fires lighted on this perilous coast in the Tower of Hook.

You say to me stay awake, be like the lensmaker who died with his

lungs full of glass, be the yew in blossom when bees swarm, be

their amber cathedral and even the ghosts of Cistercians will be kind to you.

In a certain light as after rain, in pearled clouds or the water beyond,

seen or sensed water, sea or lake, you would stop still and gaze out

for a long time. Also when fireflies opened and closed in the pines,

and a star appeared, our only heaven. You taught me to live like this.

That after death it would be as it was before we were born. Nothing

to be afraid. Nothing but happiness as unbearable as the dread

from which it comes. Go toward the light always, be without ships.

-Carolyn Forche, Santa Clara Review, also published in The New Yorker

Yes & No

Yes to the wooden giraffe airmailed from Arizona

with a note from your mother-in-law saying no more

excuses to sleep unprotected by your spirit animal,

but no to a new kind of insomnia. Yes to most -philias

not in the dictionary, like car washes in the rain

and bakeries on fire, but no no no to looking at old photos

with a bottle of Maker’s. Yes to your wife drinking

beer in the shower, but don’t hop in and join her,

let her have this moment beautifully wet and alone,

you’re here in the kitchen sautéing spinach and garlic

if she needs you. No to speed limit signs graffitied

but yes to climbing the overpass at night to tell the world

exactly the year that you loved her

Read the rest at H_NGN_M

This poem by Justin Bigos rocked my world and will rock yours.

Seen from Above

Steady the freight trains
like daily missives
from other-where—

our stop on the map,
the dislocation of winter’s
bandwidth.

Steady now the icicles
freezing in their gravity,
last leaves winnowing

off the tree
and steady the people
with their clocksongs

and filled-up lives
while a few of us are dropping
away like chaff from a scythe.

Emptiness.
Pour the water.
Keep the fire lit.

Things are not as they seem.
To ring the bell
you must give your whole self

over to the bell-rope.
You must lift both feet
off the ground.

-Jennifer K Sweeney, Cave Wall 

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