This is the poem that was accepted for and published in the new issue of Vallum (Montreal). There were readings in Toronto and Montreal in support of the periodical, and I was there. Standing up. Reading. No guitar in my hand. Back to it, after all these years...
it’s not as if I don’t know what I need to do.
this beautiful old barn. its
owls and mice, musty air, misty pale yellow light
coming through high windows—
a musical staff, populous motes singing across the lines. here
a well-shaped note lasts forever.
a blue pigeon, a delicate bat in the highest spire.
feathery wings homing in on the scratching.
old trunks covered in footprints and filled
with handmade wooden toys and treasures, couplets and flasks.
I know what I need to do here. nothing. breathe.
falling from heaven,
is identical to any other.
it is true my beard is greying.
it is true the river is frozen and tentative eyes
stare upwards through opacity, for a sign.
I need do nothing but breathe
and step forward. accept
the nature of wind and its ineffable soul—
by which is meant ‘time.’
acceptance in the upturned palms.
and generosity: what I am given, what I may give.
muted sun on winter and its black squirrels,
its expansive hushed feet. out there.
and here, in the cavernous barn,
the chapel of all I can remember
it would be easy—and I know those who sang this gospel—
to crumple under the weight of it all.
but I know: stand still and listen.
accept. love. and know, dawn and springtime will
always come. not sorry. not afraid, no sound of should in this old barn
of dust and thoughts and moments from each tense,
through seven lines of light.