(or The Old Child of the
I had returned to find myself standing
still, my skin infinite ears, my bones infinite eyes in the midst of
the time waves breaking over each other.
That old child me, now in concentrate
form infused with lake mist decades old, still standing, looking out
across northern water hearing the wild laugh of the loon swathed in
the constant fresh blow of the lake.
Standing in mid-life where it begins to
tip into old age, the grass not yet straw, the sap not yet
standing in this confluence of
teenage self and crone where I had died
so many times and come to life
Where the music-soaked earth fed
on the spring feet of dancers.
Looked at itself in paintersí eyes,
or roiled in the words of a self-intoxicated actor speaking the
of buried rock and whirling birds, come
through the almond-oiled voice of a singer, or through the
intricate, quaint plumbing of a gentlemanly bassoon.
Tapped out into hard
curves by a metal smith, or punctuated
into crystalline chords by a smooth-fingered pianist.
Humans poignant with their
numbered days made sure that I came
here, stayed for enough seasons to wed my own wild beauty to the
good woman inside me and lift the bright, prismatic rock out of the
water of my soul for all to see.
Now past three decades of shouting down
fear, clawing the innocent in
my sleep while emptying my lungs
through a brass vortex of hope, I
stand here by the Indian-named lake so
far beyond the ache of tears, swollen with blessings barely moored
to earth, present here and there, I present myself, naked with
poems, blind with visions, awed with the
awful love so catastrophic in its
sweetness that this and that fuse like hot glass to create the
impossible space of a single thought, nowhere and everywhere at
She is still here and breathes through
me as if I were young again.
My friends who met me here long
ago must receive this precious,
word-resistant benediction, for they came to this forest and edge of
lapping lake to dance inside themselves in the autumn of our teens.
The sideways one-liner of the chickadee
scratched my consciousness as I returned to the inside walls and
warmed rooms. Sitting on a dowdy couch arranged lake-ward in the
student center as unchanged as my grandmotherís house, words
but on the thing I wanted to say and
roughly formed this shape, the shape of a rain barrel and running in
mind with it wide between my arms, I
caught what drops I could.
My friends shall dip their hands
Goodbye and hello to my landing and
departing place. I leave
of dreams among the spaces
between pine needles and gold-
Receive my gift in puny exchange for the pure religion
of being that you gave me.
Hear the sound of my gratitude with your ever- exposed heart
as I re-ignite the girl words, the seaweed-haired, blue- knickered,
sarcastic-tongued girl who shared wonders with you.
Somewhere underneath the ground, by the
lakes, despite tree roots and stones, we hold hands forever.
is our deep knowledge.
What seeps up is a tender pooling of simple clarity:
We are innocent again.
Revised Aug. 14, 2010