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Light from the West
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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32
Elegies


I. Losing Your Light

We both were enamored
of the glistening caverns

of the night; you and I,
drifting lazily in our bark
talking with those
who knew our small business
and the colors of our lightning
and the sizes of our shadows,
shining our lights
into undiscovered corners
gazing up at the luminous dome,
laughing as its icy tears
dripped upon our faces,
tracing our names
in the wet sand with sticks,
discoursing upon great mysteries
and sea-shells
counting the stars, both
those fixed in the glassy sky
and those floating
in the crinkled Sea
naming each and every one
for our friends.

Then at last
you saw a great Light

and we knew
your time had come

to sail into it.
Your frail frame
could no longer contain
the bursting radiance
that was your spirit.
But I cannot follow.
I stand immobile, watching
as your sweetness is dissolved
in brilliance everlasting
and now I can but huddle
in a boat of loneliness
in this graveless land
as gradually I lose your shape
and glory and lessons.
Why have you left me

once again? Why did you not
take me with you?
Where is my coat of silver rings?
How long must I mourn
your distant bliss?
Why will my questions happen
when I know the answers?

II. The Gift Worth Having

So many tender arms
bear me up, intertwining
with each other to form a net
to keep me from touching
the wet and flowerless ground.
So many tears, more bitter
even than my own, rain down
upon my head and shoulders.
And I wonder, Did I do wrong
to gain their love?
This treasure was earned
and not ill-gotten; this
I know well, and yet
sometimes its brightness
reproaches me; each gem
weeps in my cloudy light
as I press it to my heart
to ease my wounds.

I could not do without,
yet sometimes my bounty
seems a great weight.

Its for those who provided it
I should lament.

My love for them
is brighter than the sun,
deeper than the sea.
I would not have them suffer
and wait, bereft of my flame
for all the ages.

Why must their night
linger so long?

Why can we not await the dawn
together as one?
Or will I be forgotten
when time has eased their grief
a mere name upon a page
a beacon on a faceless tower?

I would stroll and dance
on the stage of their memories
offering the comfort
of my small role and brief songs.

But why can I not share the one Gift
imparted to me, above all
worth having?

III. Leaving

Spring was not made for leaving.
Too many things quicken
and happen and burst and birth
we should linger and wonder
and watch new eyes open
one step ahead
of each fresh quivering limb
each blossom and suckling
each villainous weed
each overwhelming shower.

It is no time to depart.
Shy love climbs a crystal stair
seeking the skys blessing.

One should not turn ones back
on so soft a beginning.

And summer was not made for leaving.
Too many things ripen
and swell and sing and rejoice
we should linger and dance
and watch young eyes glisten
following after
young feet that trace pathways
of growth and discovery
of mischief and heat
of overwhelming cloud-bursts.

It is no time to depart.
Warm love stretches arms of longing
seeking the moons singing.

One should not turn ones back
on so wild a becoming.

And autumn was not made for leaving.
Too many things demanding
the sweat and fever of harvest
we should linger and feast
and watch warm eyes misting
keeping in step
with strong legs that stand
in pride and warm knowledge
of passion and stories
and overwhelming winds.
It is no time to depart.
Quick love sings of victory and drama
seeking the suns delight.
One should not turn ones back
on so rich a fulfillment.

And winter was not made for leaving.
Too many things needing
the carols and sleighs and blankets
we should linger and sigh
and watch bright eyes closing
resting beside
all things that sleep and wriggle
in joyous anticipation
of snowflakes and playthings
of mysteries and candles
of overwhelming ice.
It is no time to depart.
Wise love turns a glow of contentment
thanking the stars in peace.
One should not turn ones back
on so comfortable an end.



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