Harvest and Tide

/ /

for Molly Peacock

Sit still an hour if you can.
Receive the harvest coming in,
baskets of bounty. Did I dream
that minuscule Athenian
apartment? Or Jerusalem:
wedged outside the air BNB
in the German colony,
that sliver of a balcony,
where, cramped beside my love, I sat.
We watched the moon rise, heard a cat
courting or fighting – a shrill scream.
As memory can recede to dream,
so dream can morph to memory.
A figment? A reality?
How can I tell? And do I care?
In this space/time where nothing’s near,
nothing, also, is all that far.
Flotsam and jetsam drift toward shore,
borne on the tides of webinar.
Who would have thought that Cicero
would be discussed on Zoom? With no
warning, once more my father and I
(it all comes back) make our slow way
right through De Senectute,
sentence by sentence, page by page,
adolescence next to age.
Parsing a period clause by clause,
I absorbed all kinds of laws.
And every scrap retrieved replays
through these brief November days –
days uneventful? Yes and no.
Some days all but overflow.
Some days are vessels that contain
the stored-up contents of my brain,
distilled from all I ever learned.
Life went on. The pages turned.
This long hiatus now affords
silence and space: I hear the words.
I’m trudging out to the wood shed;
rhythms resound inside my head.
I climb the hill; soliloquies
declaim behind the naked trees.
Poems I didn’t know I knew
chime faithfully as an echo.

Harvest, you called it. I said tide.
Whichever, gifts from far and wide
bestowed on you, dear friend, and me.
Poetry’s generosity
and durability accrue
to us – we’re lucky, me and you.
Not only us. Linked poets stand
across the landscape, hand in hand.
One hand is writing; one extends
out to the circle of poet friends,
a gyre that widens. Listen. Wait.
The bounty will accumulate.