20170812

Robert van Vliet



Everything

         what
                can be
said if not

         everything

                and the
simple trees and

the idea of
                the simple
         trees



January

Let me begin
                he said
         with this idea: that there can be

in what I can’t perceive
completely
                some beginning more than arbitrary
         a measured gratuity
                        to the improbable stars.
They suffer

         on the silent wind or
                sift
between the creaking branches
                        of the winter trees.

This morning sky still full of stars
         this sun
                        asleep
though bright. These

things indelible
                what of them? And
what of the cold:
         that it would not
                        be quite so cold
         or the earth
awaken? I cannot
         deny the winter
                        nor
ignore the measurelessness of
solitude.
                A word alone is not
         a word.

         And suppose
he said
                I were to leave
         the beginning
the idea
         of beginning. What’s left?
                        Only wheeling
tierless heavens trackless
         decades endless water.

The human dignities
                are walking
standing sitting
         reclining.
                These mysteries

                        when solved
lead on
         to other mysteries. We

are sun our glow
                is moon our heart’s
gryphon flashes. What is young
                        might always
         be so and so

we swirl.
         Add another guess
to each solution.
                        Nothing’s final.



Stories
         Tell the child
stories from
                before

         it was born:
tears you
                shed

         for that long
dead dog
                are

         part of the
story, not
                part

         of the child.
Those stories
                are

         your life, but
to the
                child

         they're just stories
— and stories
                fade.




Robert van Vliet lives in Minneapolis.
 
 
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