What do you have to Say, Anne?
Another question, Anne,
what moved you to leave
that October you left the motor on?
When I listen to your voice
I understand your whisper,
“I am not afraid to die.”
Yet, why, Anne, why?
You wrestled with Jacob’s angels
but unlike Jacob, did not want to return.
You kept on saying soon, soon,
like night wings attracted to light
and you kept getting nearer.
I see you on Long Island ferry
by the railing, watching the nuns there,
you with your car keys, cigarettes and pocket book,
so alone, and so drawn to the strange night air.
I talk to you now Anne. I think of your words;
I think back to your voice when I saw you in Philadelphia,
you seemed so alone then too, so removed, so tuned
to other things. You were looking for what, Anne?
Should I say it, or did you in one of your last volumes,
An Awful Rowing Toward God!
Are you now among those four black figures riding in the sky
saying Good News? Anne, what do you have to say?
poetryrepairs #215 15,07:073
BEARER OF THE WORD
(to Valentina Sinkevich)
Pausing with her fountain pen,
she looks at the sweetgum from her window,
so distant from the beech trees of Kiev.
Sometimes in the night, shadows
flicker by her burning candle.
They answer from her lips,
the four directions of the wind
and echoes within.
In 1942 the Wehrmacht swept through
the Ukraine. Germany demanded her mother
choose a daughter to serve the Reich.
The mother chose the younger thinking
her too frail to fill the needs of the invaders.
They took Valentina’s fifteen-year old arms
and set her in an Arbeitslager,
German work camp in Danzig.
After the war, there was no going back.
The motherland did not welcome
back the “tainted,” the imprisoned.
Like so many displaced persons, she roamed
the lines of ruined Europe until
finally sponsored by a Friends Committee
that settled her in Iowa. Later she moved
until the map led her to a row house
in the city by the river no one can spell.
Friend to neighbors, homeless, strays,
the wounded. A departed friend’s son,
Gregor, lost it all and wandered
the pavements in a land without relations.
She found him on the steps of St. Andrews,
sheltered him until the state provided lithium.
With her Great Dane, Tasha,
she walks the Overbrook Golf Course
looking for balls to give my children
to sell at their lemonade stand.
Bearer of the word in a land not her own.
Here she learned a new vocabulary. Every syllable
reveals the worth of her accent; her cause remains.
Only the language of the heart matters.
poetryrepairs #215 15,07:073
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--JOHN the theologian
REPAIR: resort, frequent or habitual going; concourse or confluence of people
at or in a place; making one's way; to go, betake oneself, to arrive; return to a place; to dwell; to recover, heal, or cure; to renew; to fix to original condition. -- Oxford English Dictionary
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'Bearer of the Wind' appeared in Philadelphia Poets