“Today, from a distance, I saw you
walking away, and without a sound
the glittering face of a glacier
slid into the sea. An ancient oak
fell in the Cumberlands, holding only
a handful of leaves, and an old woman
scattering corn to her chickens looked up
for an instant. At the other side
of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times
the size of our own sun exploded
and vanished, leaving a small green spot
on the astronomer’s retina
as he stood in the great open dome
of my heart with no one to tell.”
Ted Kooser, “After Years” (from Solo: A Journal of Poetry)
“Sometimes, I travel too far from
myself and need proof that I’ve not died.”
Rane Arroyo, from “El Dorado (Goodbye, Utah)

The stone.
The stone in the air, which I followed.
Your eye, as blind as the stone.

We were
hands,
we baled the darkness empty, we found
the word that ascended summer:
flower.

Flower — a blind man’s word.
Your eye and mine:
they see
to water.

Growth.
Heart wall upon heart wall
adds petals to it.

One more word like this, and the hammers
will swing over open ground.

Paul Celan, “Flower”, translated by Michael Hamburger (Selected Poems, Penguin Books)
un arrivederci un arrivederci un arrivederci un arrivederci un arrivederci un arrivederci
“See how the past is finished
here in the present
it is awake the whole time
never waiting
it is my hand now but not what I held
it is what I remember
but it never seems quite the same
no one else remembers it
a house long gone into air
the flutter of tires over a brick road
cool light in a vanished bedroom
the flash of the oriole
between one line and another
the river a child watched”
W. S. Merwin, from “My Hand”, in The Shadow of Sirius (Copper Canyon Press, 2009)

I have come to the edge of myself. Darkness surrounds the world. I’m feeling every step, each breath is a beginning. Writing these words I could be five or fifty years old. I’m learning again what it means to be.

“And I never believed that the multitude
of dreams and many words were vain.”
Li-Young Lee, from “The City in Which I Love You”

A gust roused the waves,
leaves blew into the water,
the waves were ash-gray,
the sky tin-gray,
ash-gray the autumn.

It was good for my heart:
there my feelings were ash-gray,
the sky tin-gray,
ash-gray the autumn.

The breath of wind brought cooler air,
the waves of mourning brought separation:
autumn and autumn
befriend each other.

Juhan Liiv, “Leaves Fell”, translated by H. L. Hix (Poetry, June 2011)

Stranded in this space, there is nowhere else to go.

There is this silent whisper within me, I cannot make out the words, not yet.

I was trying to run from these shores, but that meant that I was running from myself, from you, from us.

I do not want to run. I am tired of running.

Instead I want to be still, feel autumn’s breeze on my bare skin. I want to find words that make me grow out of this sadness.

Maybe this is not a departure after all, but an arrival.

The last day on Europe’s southern border. A beach so white, waters so blue, pines so very green. No noise, just sea and cicadas. I spent what seemed like ages on end in the sea, swimming and diving against the strong waves, letting them wash me ashore, gripping sand with both my hands, clinging to life like never before. Later we walked in the golden hour across what used to be an Ancient Greek city, Ericlea Minoa. The mountains and valleys stretched right into the sea and my heart was breaking for all the beauty. For now it could still all be forever.

More photos on my Instagram @hiddenshore