Three Poems by George Garrett
When I Consider
where I want to go from here,
now at the dead end of myself
and of all the things that I have loved
and hated, it is to the commonwealth
of true simplicity. Think then
of a stack of old bricks, of hardwood
split and ready to fit the stove.
Remember the spooky call
of the morning owl and the crows,
those kooky woodwinds of my orchestra.
Now imagine silence louder than
those birds and all our wounded cries.
Picture the kettle boiling in the kitchen.
Picture the ghostly song and dance
of flames and listen to the whisper
of smoke in the old brick chimney.
Secrets steam from the kettle spout.
I go careful even now, uneasy.
Such a long time to keep and be still,
to have been quiet and even now
it is the cliché of thin ice; it is
delicate jumping from one rock to another
amid the roar and froth and foaming
of white water; it is always on tiptoes
in the echoing foyer of public places.
Such a long time ago I swallowed whole
the toad of my anger and slept with my joy
hidden like wedding cake under the pillow.
For such a long time I have loved
that beautiful princess dreaming all alone
in her tower, dangerous and perfectly silent.
Here I am again,
one face only
among a row
of famous faces,
the faces of
my elders and betters,
now lost and gone
to glory or surely
going that way soon.
What on earth
are we all
I put on my glasses
and turn on the lamp
to watch myself
spring back to life
among the grinning dead.
Must we pose there forever
together in the faceless dark?
Or will we too rise again
in a sudden gift of light
Per Contra Poetry - Fall 2006