Drawing by Judith Wolfe
ROBERT JAMES BERRY

Two Poems


      SEEING THINGS

      The wind moved by some memory
      Moans in an ancient language,
      Through a dark sea of tangled trees.

      The road is swallowed in shadows.
      Shadows are like
      Gnawed bones in the dark,

      Wolves of coming winter
      Hewn from the silent monsters in men.

      When the road wends up
      Into ice-fanged mountains

      Venomous winter
      Crawls in the sheer screes.

      Here it is colder than
      The graves of all lands.

      Blizzards have blasted tumbled stones
      Into terrible heads

      Leaving them to guard the pass,
      Ailing faces staring from the snow.

      Only on the lower slopes
      The years lie thicker than silence.

      As the road twists down into wind-writhen firs
      Licked with mist

      So the mind follows. Marching a hazy trail
      That winds off into ochre lowlands
      At the edge of vision.

      QUARTET

      Together the players sway
      Bows moving molto adagio

      Shaping long plangent phrases
      Resounding with old memories.

      The piano's sostenuto is
      A towering country of sound

      Then solo
      The cello tells intimate tales.

      The roots of the world stir
      When all the players reach crescendo.
      Like a bonfire of burning creation.

      Softly spoken
      Spellbound below the stave,
      The viola is working witchcraft.

      Sharp as the taste of love
      Are the strings of the violin
      As they fade into ineffable silence.


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