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John- June 2006 231

There is a kind of sunlight, in early autumn, at sundown,
That raises cloud reflections
Inches above the pond water,
that sends us packing into the chill evening
To stand like Turner’s blobbed figurines
In a landscape we do not understand,
whatever and everything
We know about it.
Unworldly and all ours,
it glides like the Nineteenth Century
Over us, up the near hill
And into the glistening mittens of the same clouds
Now long gone from the world’s pond.
So long.

This is an old man’s poetry,
written by someone who’s spent his life
Looking for one truth.
Sorry, pal, there isn’t one.
Unless, of course, the trees and their bow-down relatives
Are part of it.
Unless the late-evening armada of clouds
Spanished along the horizon are part of it.
Unless the diminishing pinprick of light
stunned in the dark forest
Is part of it.
Unless, O my, whatever the eye makes out,
And sends us, on its rough-road trace,
To the heart, is part of it,
then maybe that bright vanishing might be.


“Ancient of Days” by Charles Wright, who was just named Poet Laureate of the United States.

The picture: snapped in Houston, Texas, 2006.