Friday, August 27, 2010

When a certain cloud appears


When a certain cloud appears,
and it seems your life has been lived

in preparation for its arrival,
only to find it gone just as soon,

and then another, and another,
and death is all around,

in the sun and the way it beckons autumn,
its plaintive light upon your shoes —

when, of a certain time,
like a candle that won’t go out,
or a window that reveals
what it can’t explain,
or won’t,

and what you remember
in the name of what you feel,

taken as breath as breath is taken away,
in the same sense senseless, and still
corrupt, virgin, perfectly insane —

when, in a way familiar yet unreal
as any childhood, pain, or sound,
as thorn in any soul, as gospel, as river,
as mortal cry or blow will prove

what is rejected seduces,
what is expected fails,
what is neglected grows,
what is sung heals

what the slightest touch will show,

and vain reflexive need is an image of itself
looking backward in a mirror,

hollow,
is grief, is loss, is miracle —

you set it down,
you let it go.

(first publication)


Update:
“When a certain cloud appears” added to Poems, Slightly Used.

7 comments:

Joseph Hutchison said...

Dear God, amigo, what waters have you been drinking out there? The sun's "plaintive light," the name "taken as breath as breath is taken away," that series of pithy aphoristic lines in stanza nine, and the miracle of that final couplet.... Well, damn it, I'm pretty well lost for describing how good this poem is. (Do you think if I took up drawing I would ever be able to write this well? But then I can't draw anything, really, except breath—for awhile, anyway.) Anyway, this my way of saying "Bravo!"

William Michaelian said...

Quick — get this man a drink before he comes to his senses!

(I’ll have what he’s having.)

“In another life,” the poem said to no one listening, “I was a bartender.”

“Mama? Who are those funny men?”

“Hush, child. They’re poets. The unacknowledged legislators of the world.”

Anthony Duce said...

Loved this……. That certain cloud appears more often then I would like, even though I welcome it in spite of myself. Feeling is so much better then not feeling.

Woman in a Window said...

Music. It needs to be set to music.

And then you write, but it already has been, erin.

Beautiful. Painfully beautiful and alive. And just now I wonder if when a flower pushes its petals forth, like we women push babies from our bodies, and like we all push from this life into death, is there pain, or is it only glorious more?

xo
erin

rahina q.h. said...

signs of brievity around us all the time... beautiful work.

Elisabeth said...

Beautiful work. Your short time away - disconnected from technology - has brought you back invigorated, as if you ever needed it.

William Michaelian said...

Anthony, I second that emotion. Thank you.

Erin, to me, your glorious question is music enough.

Thank you, Rahina. Brevity is beauty’s sting.

Well, Elisabeth, I need something; whatever it is, I write my way to it and through it and around.