Saturday, March 26, 2011

Keep Out


You want a specific item to begin with.
The worn table against the wall in a slanted box of light.
Motes of dust in the air. Their erratic

Brownian motion.

Call it that for want of a name.
Why isn't there a letter
on the table.

She didn't write one.

Go to the blackboard and begin erasing.
Gone is the table, the slant of gold light,
the motes of dust.

Begin again.
This time with a scythe,
a long blade of steel on a wooden pole,
curved to fit the work.
Listen to the sound it makes

cutting through 
the tall grass.

The sigh of the grass as it falls.

After a while you find yourself
standing by the well
with a dipperful of water.
You taste the darkness of the well
and the clean bite of the water
and the hint of moss and moonlight.

You press your hands to your back
to soothe the ache there.
What is moving in the woods behind you.
A scrape and rustle in the underbrush.

Are you a bear. Are you a mule deer. A man
with a rifle.

Low down against the rim of the earth
the sky goes from yellow to purple.
You think of a woman you once knew.
Her dark hair like a waterfall of night
as it fell on her pale skin when she brushed it
of an evening.

If you had a hammer
you would know
what to do with your hands
but as it is
you just stand there.

Are you a bear. Are you a mule deer.
A dark shape in the woods.
Are you standing by the well.
Can you taste the moonlight in the iron colored water.

You could bear the loneliness better
if you had a name for the things of this world.



Blogger Ms. Moon said...

May your water always taste of iron and moss and moonlight.
May there always be a dipper at hand to bring it up from that dark well.

6:41 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

-- I'm thinking why is the phrase "the things of this world" such a beautiful one?

9:52 AM  
Blogger 37paddington said...

oh, this is is a gorgeous aching thing.

such rich, lonely imagery. it speaks to me of a soul used to doing, now at a loss. it's so beautiful, Scott.

thank you.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Radish King said...

oh god. heartbreaking. the choices here (bear mule deer man bringer of light bringer of dark) in this poem one is almost forced to decide and to act on that decision. oh god. thank you.

1:26 PM  
Blogger deirdre said...

This is so beautiful Scott, heartbreaking and beautiful.

And the questions it asks are huge and familiar and unanswerable.

'Why isn't there a letter/on the table.'



6:45 AM  
Blogger Allene said...

I feel like I've just awakened from a flowing honey dream...with sadness, questions unanswered and most of the dream forgotten.

Thank you for your words.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Petit fleur said...



4:42 PM  
Blogger Mim said...

"clean bite of the water"--right there!

7:14 PM  

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