Tuesday, May 05, 2009

departure from arrival

Lately I haven't been sleeping much (again). But I've been trying to use my wakeful hours effectively, writing in my journal and geeking out on Dorothy Allison, instead of just mooching around the internet to see if anybody has updated their facebook status yet. Anyway, I'm also reading this Li-Young Lee book, Book of My Nights, which is all about not sleeping. Perhaps for this reason (and because, for some unfathomable reason, I usually don't enjoy poems written in a cycle or around a theme as much as I enjoy solitary poems), I haven't been enjoying it as much as I'd hoped to. But I will read it again when I am less tired, and until then this one seems somewhat fitting, given my sleeplessness and eternal confusion with language.

Hurry toward Beginning

Is it because the hour is late
the dove sounds new,

no longer asking
a path to its father's house,
no longer begging shoes of its mother?

Or is it because I can't tell departure
from arrival, the host from the guest,

the one who waits expectant at the window
from the one who, even now, tramples the dew?

I can't tell what my father said about the sea
we crossed together
from the sea itself,

or the rose's noon from my mother
crying on the stairs, lost
between a country and a country.

Everywhere is home to the rain.
The hours themselves, where do they hide?
The fruit of listening, what's that?

Are days the offspring of distracted hands?
Does waiting that grows out of waiting
grow lighter? What does my death weigh?
What's earlier, thirst or shade?
Is all light late, the echo to some prior bell?

Is it because I'm tired that I don't know?
Or is it because I'm dying?
When will I be born? Am I the flower,
wide awake inside the falling fruit?
Or a man waiting for a woman
asleep behind a door?
What if a word unlocks
room after room the days
wait inside? Still,

night amasses a foreground
current to my window.
Listen. Whose footsteps are those
hurrying toward beginning?

No comments: