by Louis Daniel Brodsky
Since our last gathering, the forest
Had filled with new trees and shoots.
A cold stream had cut through to its core.
So profuse and perfectly graceful
Was its symmetry that no beings
In nature could beg a loving God,
Even one totally dedicated to creation,
For a more enduring serenity.
Yet as we followed our thoughts
Down easy paths, toward conclusions
Grown, like rings of a tree’s cambium,
Into static patterns we’d adopted,
The roads, by subtle degrees, began
To diverge, swerve almost invisibly,
Until our voices couldn’t be heard
Anymore above the forest’s roar.
Being lost by being set free
From controversies that kept each
In tense communion became a state
Of alienation completely sympathetic
To life. One by one, we emerged
As personal interpretations of souls
Purged of mortality, leaving the forest
Suspended in harmony with itself.
With this book’s forty-four chronologically arranged poems, Brodsky captures significant occasions (his wedding anniversary, the death of a friend, Nixon’s resignation) as well as simple details from his daily life (business trips, meals at small-town diners, moments spent watching trains fly past crossing gates as they race to imagination’s destination), all the while analyzing the relevance of his own existence in relation to these events.