Friday, July 13, 2012

The Morning Reading: "That was years ago. That was me."




The Man Splitting Wood in the Daybreak
~ GALWAY KINNELL


The man splitting wood in the daybreak
looks strong, as though, if one weakened,
one could turn to him and he would help.
Gus Newland was strong. When he split wood
he struck hard, flashing the bright steel
through the air so hard the hard maple
leapt apart, as it’s feared marriages will do
in countries reluctant to permit divorce,
and even willow, which, though stacked
to dry a full year, on being split
actually weeps—totem wood, therefore,
to the married-until-death—sunders
with many little lip-wetting gasp-noises.
But Gus is dead. We could turn to our fathers,
but they help us only by the unperplexed
looking-back of the numerals cut into headstones.
Or to our mothers, whose love, so devastated,
can’t, even in spring, break through the hard earth.
Our spouses weaken at the same rate we do.
We have to hold our children up to lean on them.
Everyone who could help goes or hasn’t arrived.
What about the man splitting wood in the daybreak,
who looked strong? That was years ago. That was me.

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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! Thank you for this. Galway Kinnell---one of my favorites.

Missed you at the farmer's market today.

the other L

meryl natchez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
meryl natchez said...

Thank you for posting this--Galway has to be one of the greatest living American poets, and a man of generous spirit! How many poets has Squaw Valley nurtured?

Lou said...

Love this man's poems.

Rebel Girl said...

Thanks for reading, folks....

 
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