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Theodore Enslin


Age      eventually turns its tricks
what we have not seen      or felt      we do
that forehead      smooth       and suddenly the lines
which lay there are imprinted
left as footsteps leave their marks
and sand will shift to cover them.


What is heard has passed us by
music is in aftermath      not its stroke
to remember is in ordering
split and then returned to say
to hear before the echo.



c.c. – w.c.w.

‘I played no games’      and that was game enough
it made for other gamesmanship
As one man put it many times
‘Ain’t it enough? I did the work.’


Heroes live best unsung
metals are false that shine
fi rst cut or minted
air that breathes around them
heroes or the common color
let the winds decide
that first or final breath.



How do we hear the anger of the birds?
Why are they angry?      (if they are)
There is another anger in the trees
we do not think to hear it
perhaps another kind of it is hidden
in the stones that move below the tides
and some of us burst out as if we knew.



As if spring colors made things lighter
mirage in fog      a bellbuoy’s tone
too soon      too late      this season’s trickery
and rocks alive      in spell of it
as if it were      it sill might be so
a buoyancy of water as the air’s.



Not straight     the river now against a silence
hard pressed against its own and so’s
the sun or water’s bend a
blending never straightened     pass of either
one to reach that’s for future or the other
not the will of either     in bend those other things
raised out of context     darkening the sun’s light
that the water’s myriads attempt their places
nor the lack of them a higher sense the hulls
the dross of what was water’s opening
against a thrust of sun the openings sustain
are fruitful in acceptance     moves and is not
the movement     of a hand     what is quiet
is linked to movement what will come     of it
has come let what it is lie quiet
linked bend to other bend     the move’s between
alas for the     word it’s a wand caught
in such the backdraft of waters in a bend
that so they move against each other’s fl ow
as dim-turned water’s lave to notch the land
not straight     a straightening to come unheeded
deep water’s promise in detritus     banks full chaff ed
to wait a falling in another rain let go
to move and carry     as the wand may loose
or bend to pass     no change save silted up
meander done     and there’s a bayou
left beyond its river’s edge     the mark of it
in marsh and reeds     not straight the sense
of channels once     for companion river’s course
thicket in ravine     alluvial as fanned out
impasse no more to say of it     where once
no clutter where once it was     no course to straighten
that flow of force that bears away a cruelty
in some regard but leaves in shards its heritage
that bend’s not straight     nor passage to the sea
what’ll be of it new weave of what’s to come
thought carefully by wand or twist not straightened
without a journey here to there a baring
there or not so far ashore     no striking point
there is a long long point to the bend a longing
some will see it straight as wand reposits movement
trust no measure if the line does nothing
with no curve to measure distance      points as pivots
there is no mattering of distance     how it’s reached
the bayou’s     later stick to the primal bend
that left the river but made the river’s raft
of what encumbered it oblique     still lies
stilling is the only business of this river’s bend
an only river?     or there are the others trying
tributaries to land of many     from these many lands.


Goodbye to all that world
where we once talked
as if there were no end
to it     yet went on further
to fall off even from a globe
held sure by gravity
It is here and not here
a way to walk and say goodbye.


Copyright © Skysill Press, 2013