Friday, May 7, 2010

Not the Happiness but the Consequence of Happiness

Painting by Joni McPherson

Not the Happiness but
the Consequence of Happiness

He wakes up in the silence
of the winter woods,
the silence of birds not singing,
knowing he will not hear
his voice all day.
He remembers what the brown owl
sounded like while he was sleeping.
The man wakes in the frigid morning
thinking about women.
Not with desire so much as
with a sense of what is not.
The January silence is the sound
of his feet in the snow,
a squirrel scolding,
or the scraping calls
of a single blue jay.
Something of him dances there,
apart and gravely mute.
Many days in the woods he wonders
what it is that he has
for so long hunted down.
We go hand in hand, he thinks,
into the dark pleasure,
but we are rewarded alone,
just as we are married
into aloneness.
He walks the paths
doing the strange mathematics
of the brain, multiplying the spirit.
He thinks of caressing her feet
as she kept dying.
For the last four hours,
watching her gradually stop
as the hospital slept.
Remembers the stunning coldness
of her head
when he kissed her just after.
There is light or more light,
darkness and less darkness.
It is, he decides,
a quality without definition.
How strange to discover
that one lives with the heart
as one lives with a wife.
Even after many years,
nobody knows what she is like.
The heart has a life of its own.
It gets free of us, escapes,
is ambitiously unfaithful.
Dies out unaccountably
after eight years,
blooms unnecessarily and too late.
Like the arbitrary silence
in the white woods,
leaving tracks in the snow
he cannot recognize.

Jack Gilbert

Posted over on Elimae

1 comment:

Blue Bunny said...

oh, this is so sad. but i lieked reeding it, becuz sad stuff is part of life too. it maeks us dance for teh good parts of life.

and yoo can now reed my jannie new inntervue here on tess' blogg...

have a nise nise dae.