Five Poems

Say You Remember

Say you remember—even if all that stays
        Is no more lasting than the silver foil
        Of quarter moon, or the west wind’s toil
Upon the deep, among the darkening waves.
              Say you remember.

Say you remember—candle that burned so bright,
        Casting our shapes against the winding stair;
        Casement thrown open, letting a rush of air
Prolong the surge from far within the night.
              Say you remember.

Say you remember—morning, with gulls crying,
        The yellow sand swept clean, and not a sign
        That we came that way. No trace left behind
By the incoming waves. And the wind sighing.
              Say you remember.

 
First published in The New Formalist (2006)
 

Gravestone

What can no longer be
reaches out to me,

accepts my silence, knows
kinship with the snows

lately gathered here,
only to disappear—

ciphers written where,
intractable as air,

a touch still leaves a trace
of something unerased.

First published in Lucid Rhythms (2007)
 

Not in Dreams

Not in dreams will I find you,
        where streams run dry,
Not the face etched in stone,
        the broken sky.

Not again will you step toward me
        with shattered grace,
Not anything, in that bright moment,
        that takes up space.

Out of this universe, then,
        and into another
Where drastic opposites
        still come together.

 

Autumnal

 No motion has she now, no force
                     —Wordsworth
Is it your breath, that once warmed me?
        No, merely a thought that disarms me.
Have you come at last, up from the river?
        I came by a path that seemed lost forever.

I knew by your step, your way of kneeling—
        You sense not at all, you have no feeling.
And your hand, that brushes away the leaves—
        No more than a gathering wind in the trees.

But still your touch finds purchase within me—
        Whatever your dream, that gesture is empty.
Those moments forsworn, that ecstasy brief?
        I am but a stranger now, even to grief.

With sorrow outlasted, what draws you so near?
        Words that give witness though no one can hear.
What do they mean? Does nothing remain?
        Only the sound of the wind and the rain.

 
First published in Umbrella (2007)
 

 

Visitant

What is that calling on the wind 
        that never seems a moment still? 
That moves in darkness like a hand 
        of many fingers taken chill?

What is it seeking when it flows
        about my head, and seems to wrest
All motion from my heart, as though
        I still had something to confess?

How can it be it knows my crime,
        this troubled whistling in the air?
‘Tis true, I left her long behind,
        but this is dark, and she was fair.

 
First published in The New Formalist (2006)
avatar

About Jared Carter

Jared Carter’s first collection of poems, Work, for the Night is Coming, won the Walt Whitman Award for 1980. His second, After the Rain, received the Poets’ Prize for 1994. His third, Les Barricades Mystérieuses, appeared in 1999.  All three volumes are available from Cleveland State University Poetry Center. His fourth book, Cross this Bridge at a Walk, is from Wind Publications in Kentucky.