The day after the kite festival
The great field is empty
Except for five lacrosse players
And half an orange abandoned in the grass.
Yesterday this place was a whirling,
Pulsing cacophony of color and running
And kites swarming under the sun.
Of sisters shouting “higher!” and “now you’ve got it!”
To sweaty-palmed little brothers tugging on strings.
Today at the field’s edges,
All the trees are littered with kite shards-
Colors trapped in skeletal branches,
Ribbons flayed to shreds, ripped by the wind and a grey sky.
Convince me not to see all of life in this field:
One day everything is brightness and celebration,
And the next it’s all tangled in trees.
What trust is there in soaring, if kites are so easily caught?
Or laughter becomes silence and kisses turn to stone
And tenderness is exchanged for indifference?
Seamus Heaney pulled up a railroad tie and asked the same.
What is fixed, if things so solid can be utterly undone?
I have heard there is a future
And a hope that will not be cut off.
Next year the kites will swarm again.
So as I walk under the littered trees,
I sing softly
but am not quite
You have seen it while hiking,
Whether you walk energetically or drag your feet on the gravel path,
You have heard it asking questions.
And whether you carry half your wardrobe in a pack or travel light,
You have come to its bridge or its bank.
You have seen it swirl, caught in its own undertow.
“How can I go on,” it asks, “and leave the mountain spring behind?
I was a pupil and a lover there and every molecule of me
is stamped with the memory of belonging; of holding on and being held.
I loved those cold depths.”
You have sat by the side of this stream.
“Did I fill it too full?” you have heard it wonder. “Did I do something wrong,
to cause the mountain to cast me out?
This cannot be the justice I was promised.
How can I go on?” it asks
as it goes on.
You have followed its cascades as it rushes over rocks and into canyons.
Whether you run to listen or walk slowly, watching the Catskill eagles soar,
You have overheard its questions and caught snatches of the answer.
“I learned to be swift and supple,” it whispers. “And to overflow.
And if overflowing means leaving high coldness for the warmth of the valley and the sea,
I will leave it. But,” it sings, “in every molecule of me I retain
the best and truest parts of that place. Once I belonged to it, but now I have made it my own.
As it pushes me away I will mourn for it, but I will bless it.
I will bless it and I will go.”
what has the sky done with itself?
I only glanced down at The New Yorker for 5 minutes (10?)
and it disappeared-
all the colour washed out of it like it went through the bleach by mistake;
only down across the west field
a few streaks of orange cling for dear life:
I cling too.