Monday, November 20, 2017

SUSAN STEWART“Poem from Hölderlin”

As from dark orchard leaves, from quiet scripts
where each shape sends its tendril reaching—
circle and line, the swaddled bud, the petiole
sprung, an envelope tendered.
By a window, the infant
turns, rooting
toward the breast,
the mother humming.
(Those far things, sources
of power and
cliffs and waves,
at a distance.)
          Here you’ll find
a name scrawled in the bark—
last words, left to chance
and strangers.
           There, the black ant, burdened
by a crumb, and the weight
of her lacquered armor,
switching, doubling
back—gnarl and crevice and
cul de sac.
driven on, and trembling,
does she have a notion
of her own, or is it
only species
fearless, so abstract?
because it is winter everywhere,
           I spin my cocoon
           I dig my heart a grave
Indifferent, a blossom
drifting, the knob swelling,
the leaf turned to
shadow: filigree, smudged.
The petiole now brittle in
the first cold nights.
                       The burden, relieved,
weighs all the more
from the guilt
of its release.
Too light, too light, like a sudden
waking, the sun in your eyes:
you cannot see for it.
How long will we live
in this leaf-strewn place,
thinking we belong
to the sky?

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