G. C. WALDREP
Canticle for the Second Sunday in Lent
To be the son of a poet is to lust in a great circle.
Places both of you will
visit, for instance—Iowa cornfield, New England farm midwinter.
A mill-race. Plaque for the bell factory hidden now
By upthrust suspension, spray from which flow freezes even gravity's
ictus, compressing this river into a held note. Somewhere nearby
a clock ticks
But not loudly. One draws a breath, holds it in the pale hour between
and grief aware of genetic precomposition, the chest's scripted rise
and fall. The idea that history
Is more than the sum of component parts glosses pain with sentiment,
do it all the time, sitting together with friends after the roof's caved in.
Bitter words from the beloved—
A wild complaint, as in the Donal Og with its impossibilities and smooth-
stripped compass rose: It was a bad time she took for telling me that;
shutting the door after the house was robbed. . . .
There is the lament, and then the assignation; shocks of ice piling
up in the
lee of the dam, and voice plucked knife-edged from a chill breeze.
In the fable those children and that livestock
Were replaced, not restored, two different things. This evening the
wind-knots tied in your footsteps, bits of string and grass blown up
from some uncovered place.
No longer a scrawl. In which some letters may not be spoken. You write
around them as on the rim of a wheel revolving slowly to the rhythm
of sleet against a kitchen window,
Promising nothing this time: no ships, no towns,
no seaside courts. Only the
tannin-dark water you came from. And the green fields in the high
passes to which you will go.
for Geoff Brock
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