John Ciardi



            A Walk Down A Mountainside


By pothole water down a seam of time
      I walked away from Tuesday. Through my mind
a flap of crows tore from the roof of pine
      like tarpaper from a shack in a high wind.

A blue hole in a green flame, like a lens,
      picked out a cloud. I stood and watched a drift
out of all focus. Like a secret sense,
      a squirrel jangled in the nervous lift

of the leaf-net that something wrong was there.
      A blue-jay squawked, "It's true!" and blurred away.
That was the last sound but the water's lain
      long rush through time – a holding silver-gray

and quartz-lit sough, like silence drawing breath
      in the age between two stars. Locked out, alone,
and with nothing to listen to but the nothing said
      by water going, I threw in a stone

the size of a brain to make one deliberate sound
      of one weighed thing in the anchorless drift. And restored
to my own humor and gravity, I walked out
      from time to Tuesday, satisfied and ignored.


John Ciardi, Stations of the Air, BkMk Press, 1993.