I'm walking on the slope of a hill newly green.
Grass, small flowers in the grass,
just as in a children's book.
Hazy sky, already turning blue.
A view of other hills spreads out in silence.
As if there had been no Cambrians or Siluries here,
rocks growling at one another,
no fiery nights
nor days in clouds of darkness.
As if no plains had moved through here
in feverish delirium,
in icy shivers.
As if only elsewhere had the seas been churning,
tearing apart the edges of the horizon.
It is nine-thirty local time.
Everything is in its place and in genial accord.
In the valley, the small stream as a small stream.
The path as a path from always to ever.
Woods in the guise of woods world without end amen,
and on high, birds in flight as birds in flight.
As far as the eye can see a moment reigns here.
One of those earthly moments
implored to linger.
translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak
For well more than a year, my friend and poet Melissa emailed me a poem a day. I awoke one morning craving poetry, to know more about it, to discover more of its practitioners. While poetry was discussed and read in a fiction workshop in the 1980s and I used my lunch hours from work to haunt the poetry alcoves of used bookstores in North Hollywood, I had nearly lost forever the heart for this extraordinary form in a junior college class that required us to deconstruct everything. It began with Yeats in a way that felt he had been exhumed and eviscerated and I along with him. For that and so many other reasons, formal education and I decided we were not a good match.
Melissa and I met through our blogs and she fashioned a pillowy nest for me in the poets corner, sent a box of books from her own shelves and began to free me from the long-clinging disappointment of that dreadful class, circa 1963. While I have wished to be a poet for no other reason than to be called one, I knew that was not me. I've surrendered those delusions but to write more poetically seemed possible. There are days when I think it happens, many when it does not.
Without poets and poetry, we are leaden, too dense of spirit to lift our feet high enough to reach the next step. We grow dull and unresponsive. Without the poets' saying, "look there...and there" we miss the beauty and the truth, magic eludes us. Poetry freshens the air in a stifling room, pulleys open the blackout curtains and unbolts the door. Fill you lungs and run now. You've kept her waiting long enough.