Jared Smith

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One Note Clarion

A life of dawns had gone by
and papers yellowed by file cabinets
data driven onto disks and forgotten
mountains climbed and floods survived
before Lazarus felt he’d pretty much seen
and felt and known what there was to see,
and he lay at the darkest time of night.

Nothing to say.  Nothing new to know,
when the first bird of day at 3 a.m. spoke
one note that echoed off the stones surrounding
giving shape to each shattered shard of earth.

A simple note of chaos from feathered memory
piercing understanding, a note remembered
from the nest, a word learned from inside the egg
which once learned brought first light then food
from all in nature that could be woven for warmth.

A life of dawns gone by and yet it pierces
and is a note he realizes slowly that lights the sun,
that shapes the branches, that give wing to life,
and so he rises again knowing he knows nothing
and begins to bring these new notes and thoughts
together in a book of psalms and songs and poems
unholy and important as anything a life might give.

Having Lived With the Muse for 50 Years

The tide is going out,
starfish and sea urchins caught in tidal pools
that drain away into mudflats beneath a cold sun.
I am farther away than I have ever meant to be.
The salt air has turned to desert, the wild storms all
but forgotten in this technological land above the waves,
but I am reminded at times like these there are eyes
looking up from the bottom of the bay two thousand miles
away from where I have wandered that do not know of me
or dream that there are demons above them a continent away
who will come searching among the skeletons of those they eat
as I will someday still if I live that long and if they do,
and their eyes are looking up all this time from the mud
not the slightest bit aware of the metal hooks that guide us all,
the metal hooks that bring us out for one last flash against the sun.

I hope to go there one last time
when the warning flags are flying, waves strong at my back
one last time to be aware of the egrets standing in the marshes,
the terns turning about me, the ocean reaching in
to press around my thighs as I stand upon the shore of time
casting a line out as thin as spider web and twice as strong
to catch the mysteries of another hidden universe.


Jared Smith’s 14th book of poetry, That's How It Is, will be released next spring by Spartan Press. His website is www.jaredsmith.info.