Tag Archives: the calm place

The Calm Place

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I.

Name five things you can see, the app said.

I counted drapes, floors, slippers…

I couldn’t name the truth.

I knew I had it somewhere, but I didn’t want

To slide open the drawers of memory again

(the place was so tidy).

Name four you can hear, it menaced.

I strained but heard nothing, nothing.

The room is dead quiet.

I am alone. The sun is quiet, the floors are quiet, my clothes are quiet.

There are no voices, there is no inner music.

Nor did I smell, or touch, or feel.

There was a vague odor of petrol in my rough woolen sweater, but the place

Was unscented.

 

II.

I went to the river.

Here the air is warm and smells

Of dead things that used to be living.

It wraps around my neck like a shawl.

Here the grass is moist and the leaves

In it dry and rustling.

I rub my palm against thick hedges. They scratch.

The autumn sky lowers it golden gaze like a shy geisha.

Young birches lean with honey-tinged bibs toward the water.

They come alive with black birds.

Like inscrutable lenses, willow leaves swirl through the air

Then alight on an eddy.

You guessed it: there’s a breeze.

 

I went to the river.

It is warm.

It goes places.

It hurtles away, quietly.

An old man dressed all ocher and chestnut sits by it and listens

Then checks his pulse.

It is still there.

The river and me, we walk along in opposite directions.

A bike rolls on by, turning the gravel sunwards.

A handsome young man asks me for the time.

I give him what little time I have on me – and he smiles back, clutching a beer.

I came out here to read some Ezra Pound but the place

Is teeming with poets.

 

III.

Let us make here three tabernacles, said the apostle.

One for thee, and one for Moses and one for Elias.

You’ll never know it, but

I’ve never known happiness until now.

By bringing me here, you brought me into being.

 

 

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