Thursday, June 26, 2008

FIREWALKER


Letters come from you

in the slanted afternoon

when I lie with my small daughter

turning bread to milk


You are chasing dream lions

with your lover

through the fogs of Vancouver, marrying

friends with artifice & fire


You call me again, after the winds slam

all the doors closed & the sun sets

in perfect position for your statues

Constancy, Desire, Loss:


shall I say I loved you

when the stars fell, when we spoke

through museums of innocence

& painted our house sky


Shall I say now I was faithful

standing beside you, playing tricks with knives

& baskets of forced lilies

in the snowlocked winters of that country


where I learned to lie.

This is sleight of hand

I have lately learned to master.

You write of beds, I answer


with roses: snowfire, the last time

& with the ballast names

of my small children. When you reply

love, the oldtime, that scarf of wind


binding all transformation

& I walk through the fire again

wide open we will have nothing left

but this asbestos calm.


Yes, obviously an older poem...the time does go on, doesn't it, and the small girl in the poem is now off on her own. I don't have my records at hand as I post this, but I don't believe it ever met an editor who appreciated it and printed it. The theme of it--reconciling old love and new reality--is one I have pondered all my life. I read Sara Teasdale on the radio last night, because every so often I have the urge to connect the younger generation to the fast fading poetry of the early 20th century, even--or especially--those romantics with their Aprils and their seascapes and the rain beating at the windows.

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