Poetry - April, 2013


Ich lebe mein Leben

Ich lebe mein Leben
Ich lebe mein Leben in wachsenden Ringen,
die sich über die Dinge ziehn.
Ich werde den letzten vielleicht nicht vollbringen,
aber versuchen will ich ihn.

Ich kreise um Gott, um den uralten Turm,
und ich kreise jahrtausendelang;
und ich weiß noch nicht: bin ich ein Falke, ein Sturm
oder ein großer Gesang.

—Rainer Maria Rilke

This life I live
    after Rilke, from Book of Hours

This life I live in rings that grow and keep growing,
drawing things to themselves.
It’s possible I’ll never get to the last circle,
but I mean to see if I can.

I bank around God, around the old tower,
have circled years in the thousands;
and still I can’t tell: am I falcon, or storm,
or the swell of some song.



The wild rose        summer’s flower
along the fading path grows sweet
though it only lives & dies to itself
& spring’s unseen trilliums        in forest shade
are lost        only to us        if the haste
of our lives won’t let us pass
Such flamboyance draws things
on delicate wings        & never goes to waste
though like grass       soon withering

The scientist        in lab coat or hip-waders
knows        to seek meaning in what he observes
The poet suspects        the right metaphors
await her        astir in stream glisten
                        afloat in pond stillness
                        asleep in forest glade
for nature makes nothing in vain
Colour & camouflage        ash & flame
seem ready to re-ignite        as we listen


Skunk cabbage

I’ve seen it in the hollows of the Cascades in Oregon,
    and head-high on the trail from Juneau up to the Icefield,
there to perplex
    the pink mouth of a black bear.

And here it is along Cedar Creek in Michigan—
    dark green, leafy as ever,
moisting out of the dark ravines
    like misplaced dollar bills.

But what can you buy this time of year
    with skunk cabbage?
Just this: violet, trillium, marigold,
    spring beauty.