Wednesday, May 30, 2018



Dear Hölderlin
                        (for Maureen Owen)

Years ago in a migration

we each carried our own

rug and pillow,

telescope and strings.

Our tent was portable and able

to be dismantled.

It could be rolled

and stuffed very fast.

Flowers and grass

still grew freely and sea-lilac

had already cracked

the tarmac. So there was sustenance.

At the estuary nearby

two continents had split apart

and a curlew

flew alone and crying.

Carefully a book

would be buried

with iodine and wine

and food that doesn't rot.

The cross is a good marker

for an avenue and white clover,

trampled where little

sweet pea is growing higher.

Down the hill comes a poet

with ginger hair, he puts

violets inside his hat,

herbs and water and says:

There was once music here,

a round table

and gang prayer

and an exploding glacier.

Women kept each tent clean

until one cried,

I'm going to take care

of myself.

We heard her packing

the woods into her tote

like a nymph

managing a shipwreck.

After all, for us all

empathy was our only hope.

Fanny Howe
Second Childhood
Graywolf Press 2014