In the winter of 2003 and the spring of 2004, I recorded my thoughts as I looked through my office window over a pond at work. During this time my wife was in what would be the final stages of her life. I think of these thoughts as poems but they were never meant to be complete—just the view of something other than the struggle against suffering.
Cold dark water
Broken remnants of emerald moss.
Quietly the pond prepares
To accept the coming rain.
Above the clouds the moon rides full.
Here below—wrapped in rain—
We feel what we cannot see.
At least for this moment
Light bleeds radiance through dark clouds.
Still water reflecting grace.
There is not enough wind
To break this maddening distraction.
Yet the pond surface ripples,
And vapors of visible breath
Twist in trails like tears down a frozen face.
At long last
Sunlight greets the morning birds.
Fish break the water’s surface.
Memory wraps me in its mist
Like the fog wraps these trees.
Later in the sun
It will pale into cloud or burn into blue,
For now it is with me as once you were.
A full circle
On this soggy road in February:
The reflection of an egret standing
In the newly-flooded field,
And the hint of your voice
Carried on the chilling wind.
I will never see a white bird
Without thinking of you.
The sharp frost lasts
As long as it takes the moon
To set behind the hills.
In a moment only my breath on the air
Will remain of last night’s cold.
Water and sky are now indistinguishable.
Roadsides are rivers
And lakes cover fields.
Treetops are cloud-covered
And anxious calls come in from the hills where you live.
As the rain pounds my door
I wonder how you are.
Strands of gray
Laced with white and green
Weave together earth and sky.
The hills are quiet
The water is quiet
We wait for news from the west.
Emerald in sunlight
Dark clouds above the hills.
Seems like always,
Even the sky is water
Every surface in motion
Between every two blades of grass
A morning rainbow
Beckoned me west—
Now the only color in the storm
Is Emiliano’s raincoat.
Staring at the rain again
I see only as far as the mist-topped hills.
I know you are there,
But there is not enough left
To see you through the clouds.
Only the maples with their bare branches
Are still skeptical of riotous Spring.
I mention the music
And the flowering mosses—
The moment you stretch to look
I love you as though it had never happened.
The rain’s unexpected return
Takes the stray cat by surprise
From under one bush
To under the next
Belly low, legs bent
As if to slink between the raindrops.
Wounded by your beauty
It was weakness
Rather than will
That kept me from flinging myself again
In front of your crushing indifference.
I would have put myself beneath your feet
Just to look up and see your face.
A deer in the meadow
Paces me as I walk the side of the road.
To keep the see-through screen of willows between us,
Curious enough to look with every step.