Cold Comfort

Joseph Wiinikka-Lydon


The argument goes
something like this: the mid-
afternoon purrs like a ripened pear falling to pieces
and a heron enters the air like Jessie Norman
taking (the) stage. We the audience hush, and this
is the appropriate response. The wings escort
the body, and the texture of carbon
against sea gray blue whispers coyly, This
is not all.


The argument continues:

As the heron moves from view absence spreads like cinquefoil, and air,
knowledge and the loosening of hearts
vacate. This
is revelation, which is nothing
but the contraction of the world, or more precisely, loss
drawing down our once wide eyes
the features of the earth, your skin's tautlessness and grace, the vestige
of the passage of things
that cannot return.

Where then does the wondrous go in its movement like the flowering of a hand?
Only the scar we call horizon remains
of the presence past, a brush
of wind, of wings


The argument goes on:

Men wait patiently beneath the elms
while others hurl themselves at the pond's blunt edge
tearing at the weeds with their teeth. Still others
back away and return to their industry, their chorus
of wood and metal.

This we have learned: We are a song unrecognizable;
We are defined by what we lack.
But there are days, recalling a word, we raise our heads
and remember in part some great thing,
that in forgetting, we are not always lessened, and that
it is the fallen earth
that reveals the sun.

about the author


12.3 (Spring 2008)   The 2River View AuthorsPoemsPDFArchives2River