Lament for the Maker

At the museum of his life, his leather duffle coat is behind glass. It felt like a poem-protection center. It was my responsibility to go home, put food out in the same place every day, talk to the people who came to eat, then organize them, food and poetry being a nourishment that shares a syntax. There were many back roads to this far town, but at the end of a path over pluff mud I lay my shield down and stretched out on a bank. Wool-gatherer, day-dreamer, bird-dogger, I was sorry to have to leave, but my hands felt less tied. Like herons in a grove—or rain on mountains or in a deep ravine—the realm of the immortals releases and renews us. We want to live as if we are going to die tomorrow. We want to learn as if we are going to live forever. We want our bodies to belong to us. Wider seems the path. On the train, there was maple viewing and word games: alone, atone, bemoan, daemon: “Thy word is all, if we could spell.” The sun seemed hush-hush, then later, like a sword sinking thru stone. At the hotel, there was black tea and murmuring. After supper and a bath, I felt glad, drinking water at the sink, though usually I despair.

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