22 July 2006

Thorpe Moeckel

[from Thorpe Moeckel’s Odd Botany, 2002]

Living by Water

How many times can a man go to the river,
dip his hands in, touch them to his face,

face the wind, the sun, then touch the rocks
so as not to fall stepping across,

scrambling to a certain beach or grotto
where in going, in arriving, in every breath

between, the heart sheds foul layers —
greed, vanity — as if shale, the flakes

worked by gravity to sand, mineral —
water he spits, water he thirsts for;

how many before he’s holding the hands
of children, keeping them from falling in,

knowing they must, as a river must
not make a circle nor a man too easily believe

in rivers, no matter droughts known,
obscenities of flood, choking trout,

bloated fawns; no matter how many boats
pushed off — boats of sin,

redemption-boats — or bodies explored,
campsites slept with sounds of water

tucking behind every rock burst against;
how many before he must be carried there,

perhaps by a stranger, perhaps he’s the stranger now,
but not to the birds, beasts, flowers because

he’s forgotten their names, knows they were
never grateful of his awe, less of his pity.

No comments:

Post a Comment