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Two Poems


Now Once Again

Now once again the glaring moon,
A mirror in the midnight sky,
A single flower in an empty field,
Evokes the expectation that
An ancient truth will be revealed.

Who knows from where such expectations come,
Some source deluded or inspired,
Ancestral intimations that the moon
Conveys the permanence we know as change,
That what we love must vanish soon.

Thus sorrow for each pulsing thing
That crawls or creeps, slithers or strides,
Is given in this passing night to know
From the dark depth of need, or maybe fear;
Sorrow abides because I think it so.

So this is what the moon proclaims
As it has always done, and always will
For those who watch it at the full,
Who hold it in their sight, and, like our blood,
Feel tidal power in its pull.


Loon Call Cantata

Loon calls reverberate across the lake;
Mellifluous, their flow evokes a melancholy so
Impersonal, it might be anybody's
Languid mood, including mine, although

I am astonished by my surge of sentiment.
What correspondence of low echoingó
Loon warbling of delineated soundó
And who I am, has potency to bring

To light this loosening detachment from my self
So that I apprehend my thoughts as though
They lilted gleaming in the air, diminishing
Then fading out? Now knowing what I know

Of disappearances, late loon calls drifting
Into memory, so mellow they express
The murmuring of empty space, I marvel at
The mildness of their lifting into nothingness.

I follow the live lushness of these liquid calls,
Though actual sounds no longer linger there,
Until I float in soothing harmony as if
I could as well be disembodied anywhere.


Robert Pack

Laughter Before Sleep
The University of Chicago Press


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