Wednesday, April 21, 2021



There Is No Exile Where The Heart Is Pure

                                                                            ( for Pablo Casals )

Behind the barn, the first week of March, on a bright

morning after long rain,

the windy cedar tree

turns round and round in the sunlight.

A winter horse

rubs himself on the corner of the barn.

Little pieces of cedar glide down where the ants are

calling home their old senators who

have failed utterly.

Coming home, carrying suitcases full of noise,

they pass through small American towns.

On the barn wall,

rusted nails bleed; and in fences, in hinges, in boards.

The horse (I think of Casals in exile!) plays

a suite unaccompanied in the silver cedar boards.


the stranded hay-wagon shudders.

Between its floorboards


trickle to the earth.

A dry dusty odor mingles with festering dampness,

and a hand —

         blue ridges and rivers coming and going through it —

rests on the white sheet of the windows.

          My grandmother

          comes to swing open wide the huge

          double doors,

          doors like drifting continents,

          and a wedge of healing sunlight

          slips into the barn before her.


Robert Sund

The Hides of White Horses Shedding Rain

Copper Canyon Press, 1981

there never were enough Robert Sund poems —

it's strange, each time I type out Robert Sund's

name it shows up as Robert Sung — as if he is

returning (as I type) or has indeed returned —

to the Sung Dynasty, where of course he belongs.

This book, signed by Sund, I have no idea where

it came from — maybe a good friend, a lucky find?

here in New England — far from the Sund home of

Washington State — where as I boy in the late 60s I

had already found his masterpiece Bunch Grass

and crowded the book into my work lunchpail as

a great companion with me at midday. "Whatcha

got there, Bob, the book. . .what's bunch grass?"

I'm finding out. . .

[ BA ]