Buoy the population of the soul
Toward their destination before they drown
~ Robert Pinsky
March 2024
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[1] A Passage on Time (Washington DC)

Don’t the ginkos wait all year For these brief weeks of cool blue Skies - they call it Indian Summer – To unfurl their haloes of golden flame?

Sometimes it is easy to lose track Of time, even as living is about time Most of the time. Six months, she says, Since they have started sleeping in the same bed.

No, she corrects herself, it is seven actually.

[2] A Passage on Memory (Hyderabad, India) “My memory is again in the way of your history.” - Agha Shahid Ali

This country, even as I didn’t know it, remains The substratum that I must drill into every time To standup these edifices of words, in a language Out of whose palm I surreptitiously ate, a starveling.

These words are as close to me as memory, Yet I haven’t summoned them by name often. They, like you, stand at an distinct angle to memory, From whose density you seek escape today

Into a lighter, less crowded air. But these are Orphic moments that I must sing as I attempt To ascend on a stair of alphabet towards a moment Of painless clarity. Perhaps it is true, the spirit needs

Memory in the absence of history, and history in Making seeks escape in the presence of memory.

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Trees are words and light writes distances. - Adonis

A backward look comes to mind now: On Anna Salai, in the muggy heat of Madras,

Like Basho, waving farewell to a friend long after the beloved body disappeared into dusk.

This is what I have been doing every autumn For a decade as leaves cleave the cooling air.

There are distances of time woven into the creases Of my face. After years you ask me how I am:

Scan the trees' calligraphy when the winter comes to know how separation (or flight?) is written in light

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Solitude of Ravens

Omens of clear dreams On the highway Orpheus descends To raise up Eurydice

Feasters of tainted dusk Waiting for a guide to The otherworld to appear

Tears about the tree line Falling towards sleep’s blanket Which obscures all city lights

The more I look at you The more I become an augur On the verge of a tongue's Desolation and a haunting.

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