poems as hand- and foot-holds on a glass mountain

The Long Sorrow of Trees

We call it winter but for them it needs no calling
chatter of birds and chipmunks, of rats

they don’t ignore these exactly nor discount them
they allow what otherwise would not be

the weight of logic is this non-obstruction
we call being; after the fact only

since the fact is only a nano-present
behind naming, behind desire

we have yet to do anything with
a mystery novel we read once a year

drawn by what we missed or have forgotten
there are no more surprises only repetitions

of yearnings for what we might have wanted.
The winter light was dear
beyond all belief and dis-belief

I’ve waited in the wings, in the parking lot
in waiting rooms for extras and overflow

in an alcove it sometimes passed
on the way to a performance

real loss has no dimensions as do ‘gains’
there is no accounting

cedar, fir and pine have the greens year-round
unlike the blues they swallow whole continents

of grief, of longing, with no change of color
no deepening, darkening, and they don’t whine about it.

Meanwhile the light
has been waiting for me to return
holding my coat and hat

waiting on the docks, in the garden
in the closet and on the roof

an extra chair at the kitchen table
a blank page in my appointment calendar.

2 Responses to “The Long Sorrow of Trees”

  1. Craig Brandis (aka Burl Whitman)

    Mr. Stevens stands up and smiles. The children of his children have heard the call and not taken their gift or calling lightly. “The winter light was dear beyond all belief…I’ve waited in the wings, in the parking lot
in waiting rooms for extras and overflow” is achingly beautiful.


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