Monday, June 11, 2007

Silence, Swallows, Bridge

The dark swirl of water under the bridge
when no answers echo in the unfurling wind
and the empty sky rings with utter silence—
blueness marked only by the darting of swallows,
unrelieved by clouds. The absence of writing
on the summer sky. The unbearable weight

of time filled with nothing but waiting,
of the story endless and unabridged,
of the search for meaning. Have we no right
to demand a signpost or two along the winding
of our paths? It’s a bitter thing to swallow,
that all the answer we’ll ever get is silence.

Too long, too long standing in silence
too long in the company of those who wait
and do nothing. Too much time swallowed
by watching travelers cross the bridge,
watching boats set their sails to the wind.
Too much that cannot now be set right.

Each time I take up my pen to write
my words disappear into endless silence
like feathers carried in a careless wind.
It’s unbearable, to be so weightless.
Rust flakes and paint peels from the bridge
and mist rises from the river to swallow

the pylons where the nesting swallows
rest, perching, though the ancients wrote
that they have no feet. Under the bridge
the homeless encampment watches with silent
eyes. They have nothing to do but wait
and try to keep sheltered from the wind.

If only I were at home in the wind
footless and winged like a swallow
there would be no need to stand and wait
there would be no need to sit and write.
If only I were at home in the silence
I could get up and cross this bridge.

The bridge seems frail to bear my weight
and my nervous swallow can’t break the silence.
I’ll write the end of this story on wind.

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