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On This Side


ISSUE:  Spring 1980
On this side
there are forests,
white in winter,
that turn in spring
a perishing green;
water that circles,
on its cloud-rain-sea cycle
tears are a step.
So are the lakes
that remember and forget
the sky all day.
There is the slow speed
of atoms in wood and steel
and their racing in steam
and breath.
On this side
we have bodies,
weightless at times,
at times stone.
On this side . . .

I could go on.
I could name everything.

But the names would soon
sound absurd, each like
the only word we know
in that language,
and over there
nothing would hear anyway,
nothing sees; on that side
it is darker than blindness,
and the silence is louder
than that which wakes us
suddenly, fallen asleep
to music or noise.

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