That's Not in the Heart
I do not hold a mirage in my hand--
my shirt's in my hand. The plain filled
with my wheat. All of it. Soaked by dew
flat at my feet. Its beauty
turns each image pale. The returning heron
and the apple garden. Sun
plucks at my shoulders like my daughter's fingers.
And this day
the smell of the harvest:
this morning (I say to myself)
even in the burned forest the bird
has come back to sing.
Useless. I try now to understand that what happened.
We declared two minutes of silence
so silence would not grow in the windows
of our homes. And no way out, my brother.
The world does not stand on a cry
at night. On a man
with something in his heart, because
what's in the heart is nothing. Because
the living live by the will of those who go
where they were not willing to go.
Useless: I try now to define who you were---
word shadows! Only your returning shadow
exists. My hands will never
touch you. Your coffin
never leaves my shoulders.
Death Is Not To Be Preferred
When leading a band of harried fighters
or standing face-to-face with the enemy,
holding out in the siege
and standing alone
on the ramparts,
he never said death is to be preferred,
that life is negotiable;
by severe privations
he never asked anything
of Almighty God
but to grant him favor
and ease his pain
when he leads the congregation
in communal prayer;
and forgive our sins
One Living Word
No more willful silences.
No more verbal contact, he who loved to listen to so many will never again hear his own voice among them.
He will sit with his friends over talk from now on under constraint.
The talk. The thoughts. The friends.
And as he listens through the secret door he will turn his inner ear to the dark mumur: Son of man,
all this and all this never was and never will be
as good as one living word.