Jared Smith

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After Sleep

I wake in a small room
where there are many of us,
and we float as if on a platform
aware and not aware of each other
and of the rolling dark waves beneath
and the distance of the mountains,

and I am one of the crippled children
and of the farmers whose fields fail,,
and I sway like grain in the winds
and I give like the grasses bending
like the willows holding sun in their limbs,
and we don’t really think of these things,
but we are in awe of the music filling us
and beyond those mountains aware of us
are mirrors and there are four candles
flickering in the shadows about us,
and the shadows are the children of light
dancing among us and they are what we lit
when we woke in this room and could not see

and it is a small room with many people
where we are not aware of each other’s bodies
and there is room for all of us and our bones
have been broken down by our understandings
and our flesh has been weathered by time
and the candles in the mirrors are multitudes
and we are dancing among them seeing as one.

Simon Walks the Frozen River

Where Simon walks the frozen river
there are no shadows white upon the ice
and the grass fringe that shades the shallows
is a but a frozen reflection of the sky,
and so he crunches carefully one step unto the next
each breaking his momentum, each the crust
that bears him up upon the raft of life.
And Simon is a simple man and whistles
with the wind that wraps around him
and he walks upon the midnight moonlight
among the lives that live below him,
and he sings the song of summer softly
until he comes upon the pools below the rapids
where the ice is first the thinnest and then is
darkly deeps as the life that lives below it, where
ice is darkness flowing and light is no longer
shining from the surfaces surrounding,
where the darkness of the river is a lightness
and he sees the universe unfolding, and
he is a simple man and the lightness is darkness
and the river is but a moment in his life, and
he is a moment in the sunset of a rock upon the river.


Jared Smith's 14th volume of poetry, That's How It Is, will be released this summer by Spartan Press.