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Margaret Gibson



From its haunt within the mountain, what’s hidden calls out.
Star fire.  A moon of hazy milk.  What more do I want?


I wait until last light opens
       into an obedient listening,
    a reverie that includes the rapt attention
of the moon, and the pickerel frogs
       hard at their vesper canons,
    their singing given out with such
jubilant abandon, I sense
       the pond, the road,
    even the candent lapis of the evening sky
as forms of their strange joy.

When finally its time, I walk
       the lane of swamp maples and oaks
    and come into the damp, open fields—
and there it is, looking for all the world
       as if someone
    opened a window up there,
the blurred light of heaven roving out.
       An annunciation?
     I hear only its plangent silence.  It requires
Nothing.  Awaits nothing.  Asks nothing.

I could continue to call it porthole, angel,
— or refuse to,
    an apophatic reprieve,
its funereal wake of ice and debris all I see,
       and gauze at that.
    Give the distance, how can I
know what to make of its thunder and furnace,
       its burly habit of blazing—
    a succession of lucidities so vast,
any sensible humility would catch its breath.

But dear God, all I want is to be here,
       my tiny anguish and my joy
    a moment’s notice, an equivalent cry
just as two Canadas
       honk a path across dark fields,
    flying lower than the rim of the long stone wall,
lower than the wetland rushes,
       all the gramarye and splendor
    of this wide and terrible plentitude somehow
intermingled with their sudden, ragged and ridden, litany.


Full of itself for hours, now wind falls away.

From walking the bottomland
I come up the low rise
                                 just ahead of the last

sweep of shadow down the field—

the sun’s whole round
and the sticks of the winter rose bush

meet— the breast of a bird on its nest,
                 Flaring its wings.
                             -from Icon and Evidence