“Poetry addresses individuals in their most intimate, private, frightened and elated moments . . . because it comes closer than any other art form to addressing what cannot be said.”
— W.S. Merwin
I first read this poem in the New York Times, and I was initially struck by the editor’s comment, “Something about the way this poem occupies the page as a block of text suggests a reassembling—the beloved, for a moment . . .” In death that’s what I would want—even for a moment. This week I lost a dear friend, and I wish I could see her whole again, I want to “simply not forsake you,” and yet I know she’s been here all along.
Wild Common Prayer
by Cecilia Woloch
I dreamt you were whole again, radiant, calm: your hair still golden but
tinged with red — a halo of rosy, burnished light — and your hands
untrembling in your lap. I was surprised to find you home. But I’ve been here all along,
you said. Or might have said. You didn’t speak. You’d only aged
as women age whose bodies ease them toward death; grown softer, more
yourself. And I was the one who stood amazed, there in the kitchen where
we’d spent so many quiet mornings, friend. Wanting to touch you, wanting
to simply not forsake you now. Outside, the pasture lay down calmly; each
blade shimmered in the wind. This is eternity, I thought, and felt you breaking
into all your lovely fragments as I woke.
(Image found here.)