November 13, 2012

Sam Hamill

AFTER A WINTER OF GRIEVING

Before I traveled my road I was my road.
—Antonio Porchia

No road leads the way.
The road follows behind.
—Takamura Kotaro

With the moon so bright,
I could not sleep, the garden
glowing in cold white light.

I rose, dressed, and went out
to the deck to sit in the cold and think.

The April moon was full and high,
almost big enough to burst,
haloed by a ring of sparkling light
and a few bright stars.

The garden Buddha, a pretty boy,
wore an apron of moss.

The old Moon Watching Pavilion,
where I watched this moon with my daughter
nearly thirty years ago,
rots under the katsura tree.

I watched the first gray light begin to seep
through the trees before
the first robin arrived. Each gain,
each loss, had a name I could not speak.

Denise called this, “A kind
of Paradise,” this logged-off scrappy land
I came to thirty years ago,
impoverished by my needs.

Paradise is a sometime thing,
wherever one might make it—
a river of stones, bamboo, a foreign tree,
building a home alone—

and this same old moon,
eternally new
in geologic time.

The road to Kage-an is gone.
Don’t ask me where I’ve been.
The road out is the road in.

from Rattle #22, Winter 2004