The Deronda Review

a journal of poetry and thought

Home About This Site Contact Us Subscribe Submit Current Issue Archives Links

Larger Text     Smaller Text

The Willingness Is All


The gravity of the situation:

tense mass
excitable zoo
strung-out world
loopy world, hard to gauge
uncertain boundaries
incomplete theories
elusive constraints
approximate equations
inconstant couplings
scattered process
discussion without end point
drift without anchorage
hidden freedoms
You moons of ice and rock
dwarf stars
meteors of extinction
planets stranded in ellipse –
parse your sentences
sift snapshots in a drawer
abide the afternoon
chew your delivered dinners in separate rooms
eat, drink, lose track
nod off in analgesic districts and tenured communities
   where careerists cluck in lecture halls
   and short-spanned screeners slight thick text’s weight
Go ahead, you wet wool socks
bloodless leaves
riders on small errands
yuan-dollar assassins –
cast your sunlit lines on river’s midnight mouth
shout "bweeok! bweeok!" at the surface bubbles
The wave lays waste to your village, too
muddy crushed heads and odd-angled limbs
pools of blood and soundless mouths
Feast-end on Nature’s plates
Neither sun’s stroke nor space rock’s deed,
the end of days
Cordless and switchless
singularly unheralded it comes
The carny’s flim-flam ends
Silly tunes fade into the ether
Empty lanes trail off
Then poetry’s thousand alphabets speak as one
Then full dance-card Death teems,
   textured, juiced, coherent
Saviour of the near-dead huddling in the electron cloudshadows
   with ‘Net for needle and screen for spoon
Who fear its summons and Judgment’s voir dire
   though Hell itself would seem as cook fire to inferno life
Dust bunny species, blown easily away
You will yet feel sad:
   hiking in September in Maroon Bells among the aspens
   with the sun shining in your face on the Ponte Vecchio
   on your wedding day
   in Chichicastenango with the smoke wisps above the church on market day
   on your last run through the moguls before lunch at mid-Vail
   when you see your son born and he has all his fingers and toes
   walking from Taillevent in the night to the Arc de Triomphe
   when Xmas lights Fifth Avenue and you’re shopping in the frost among the pretty people
   riding on sled runners up river and White Mountain appears through the snowfall
   making love in a sleeping bag in Big Sur on a moonlit beach
   when the Mountain Jam’s playing at Ipod’s max volume
   at your daughter’s graduation
   driving past the red rocks at Abiquiu with the girl you love
   when you read Keats
Beauty’s old,
smells like. . . espresso
In the piazza at dusk
life stirs
stars gather
buona sera’s a polite segue to night’s rude hustle
jammed streets
greetings and disputes
Vespa racket
the clack and jangle of silverware and plates
goods displayed and hawked
the cries of tourists learning the way –
lingering dinners
purposeless strolls
love’s protests and sighs:
life’s impossible main course
Beauty’s old,
smells like. . . porchetta
To die for a natural sandwich
on saltless Umbrian bread!
Water spills over a fountain
Birds drink
Children play, their shrieks and laughter lighting
the piazza
the simple afternoon
Beauty’s old,
smells like. . . olives
Ancient hills and trod roads
A cool morning at the Duomo
Your moods and affectations
crust of personality
wit’s attack and manner’s thrust
are as quantum stuff streaming through the statues
of saints and scientists, soldiers and sinners
Look! They are slow-dancing to violins along the Uffizi in the moonlight;
painterly morning serves the sky-blue that your palette craves
Here there is no concern
no reason to ask:
   is belief worthy?
   is faith madness?
no reason to doubt the truths of the place you have come to,
Beauty’s old,
smells like. . . the sea
Look out from Ravello’s cliffs
Sail to Capri
In the mist is the familiar formless Presence
Wisps of its purpose dance above the wave tops
Whispers of its promise excite the sea-spray
Come, it beckons: explore the Deep
The Willingness is all
to end our sadness
to escape our edgy hip dead-ends
to silence the white-noise hiss of tattered human doodads
and the drone of tan-raincoated clones
the barking of Senators and complaints of false maidens
to banish the sight of men and women grasping at one another
naked along curbside among the ruins of steaming streets
to stop the scratching at hives and our mad hopping dance
to speak of our hunger
and discover together our communal heart
The Willingness is all and the journey continues
A voyage long ago begun
Before awareness
All sailors are friends
Broken-masted heroes
Our mastery propels us
We sail on,
heedless of harbor-bound spirits and mooring voices
Going always forward,
abiding Time’s cruelty and the hardness of the way,
to make music with our steps and days

                                                    -- Richard Ross



Back to Top

Home About This Site Contact Us Subscribe Submit Current Issue Archives Links