Alan: Right brain, left brain: outside the mind, life and death go on regardless.
Into Another Country
People tell me I do well what I can hardly do at all:
write clearly, organize my thoughts into little freighted trains,
ten cars or fifty cars long, carrying their meanings
down rails that join together like clasped hands in the distance.
And what I most want to do I am completely unable to accomplish:
cross those tracks into another country, the same
as this one but utterly unlike.
As I write this, the half-grown hare that the cat caught last night
is dying – perhaps from its wounds, or from being
one of (what we have to call) “nature’s mistakes,”
or perhaps from grief at being held this long,
out of harm’s way, in a strange and comfortless place
by people who meant only kindness.
Nancy: Bears meander through our lives here, following their own imperatives. What would a bear’s calendar say? – “check out bird feeder”, “explore along bay”?
A Bear Came
One day this summer,
a bear came.
It wasn’t written on the calendar
– “bear coming” isn’t the sort of thing you write
in those boxes. If it were,
who knows what I might write –
“have an insight”
My boxes were a ritual. I filled them
with country things,
as if it were important that my days be seen to have order,
just as I swept clean floors.
Not on the calendar, then,
were many things that I looked at sideways,
as a shaman might trick charred bones
into yielding secrets.
The bear came. My life is an incantation of boxes,
but even as I trim wicks and stack kindling
I watch the edges of the days. There, perhaps,
(not on the calendar, these are not the things you find
on calendars) there I may find dream bears:
“who was I yesterday, and what of tomorrow?”
“where is next year?”
“are poems real?”
“A Bear Came” first appeared in East Of The Light (Stone Man Press & Slow Dancer Press, 1984)