from Space Sonnets

The Rain

As if lit by lightning in the storm
through the tall conference window, the high
single oak tree               crazily
blowing like a fountain in the rain

is here still; the global talk of peace
has passed on, as wars and peaces pass,
the flooded roads that kept us in that place
are dry again. It is the tree that rests

crazily                   in this quieter place;
this quieter wind, that leaves undisturbed
the troubled windowpanes, finds in the ear

small leaves to rustle. All words come to this
the silence             and to discover
one more time, There is this other world


Because we were so certain that our love
was a transcendence              not a capture,
an entrapment               the words want, acquire,
even enjoy, all of them transitives

to larger selfishness, unfreedom,
till she, as we say, objecting, went away,
freeing us by her absence, to enjoy
this relaxation               It will come

as a surprise, the impulse like a breeze
to be a child, but a child no longer
impelled by want, enjoying             these

strange interstices between desires
                    on the street, quite suddenly
walking nowhere             in particular,


And down the huge swollen river blunder trees,
bits of houses, crates, patios, logs
with bobbing pelicans, a cat, a dog,
I envy them that rocking. It arouses

a memory               of peace,
forces passing through us, no voice
in this movement not yet entrusted with the choice

to suck                    or be free
the speaking                        in first awkwardness
after cataclysm, intimacy

not repeatable. The animals, all of them
are looking downstream, as if they expected
that rest we have forgotten                  the ocean.

From: Crossing Borders, New Directions, 1994.

Posted: Tue 29 Dec, 2009