And the Dark Has Encapsulated the Nighttime, and the Trees Are Gone
The moon was out last night, mysterious as ever,
Janus-faced, casting its light over the stubborn trees,
and when I went out, singing beneath the willow,
who else but the lucky owls, the inscrutable fox,
the secretive hedgehog, and the scototopic moles
would have seen me there, who else might have
known that I was singing to no one? Everything that
fruits and blossoms and cries out has its mysteries, even
the old plum with its prematurely rotted fruits, the fig
struggling to find sunlight against the wall, the apricot
that keeps me guessing year in and year out as to
its possible future–even they have no vision of the
afterlife that’s any likelier than my own. Listen:
in the creeping dark, a bumblebee sleeps in its nest,
dreaming of honey, a reptile, a little garden snake
dozes beneath the stones and, when we all wake
in the morning, who will be any wiser for what
the trees have whispered to themselves in our absence,
and who will have overheard me singing, and who
could have ventured even a guess that this is how it
would all end, that the sun would resurface again
to find only this, only this, and the trees in vain.
– Michael Blumenthal
Note: Poem first published in And (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2009); used by permission of the publisher
Pair with: simple supported backbend
Speak: The poem’s stanzas are even, three lines each, until the final stanza. Slow down on that final line, lingering over the commas.
Consider: Reflect on these lines: “Everything that/fruits and blossoms and cries out has its mysteries.” How can we see into the mystery of everything?
For more of Michael Blumenthal’s work, click here.