In Passing

Stanley Plumly

 
On the Canadian side, we're standing far enough away
the Falls look like photography, the roar a radio.
In the real rain, so vertical it fuses with the air,
the boat below us is starting for the caves.
Everyone on deck is dressed in black, braced for weather
and crossing against the current of the river.
They seem lost in the gorge dimensions of the place,
then, in fog, in a moment, gone.
                                             In the Chekhov story,
the lovers live in a cloud, above the sheer witness of a valley.
They call it circumstance. They look up at the open wing
of the sky, or they look down into the future.
Death is a power like any other pull of the earth.
The people in the raingear with the cameras want to see it
from the inside, from behind, from the dark looking into the light.
They want to take its picture, give it size—
how much easier to get lost in the gradations of a large
and yellow leaf drifting its good-bye down one side of the gorge.
There is almost nothing that does not signal loneliness,
then loveliness, then something connecting all we will become.
All around us the luminous passage of the air,
the flat, wet gold of the leaves. I will never love you
more than at this moment, here in October,
the new rain rising slowly from the river.
 
From Now That My Father Lies Down Besides Me. Copyright © 2000 by Stanley Plumly. Reprinted with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Poems by This Author

Constable's Clouds, For Keats by Stanley Plumly
Ground Birds in Open Country by Stanley Plumly
They fly up in front of you so suddenly
Horse in the Cage by Stanley Plumly
Its face, as long as an arm, looks down & down.
Infidelity by Stanley Plumly
The two-toned Olds swinging sideways out of
Long Companions by Stanley Plumly
Out-of-the-Body Travel by Stanley Plumly
And then he would lift this finest
Spirit Birds by Stanley Plumly
The spirit world the negative of this one
Wildflower by Stanley Plumly
Some--the ones with fish names--grow so north
Woman on Twenty-Second Eating Berries by Stanley Plumly
She's not angry exactly but all business,


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