How Precious Still
Here where the word is beautiful, here where the word is most true, where I am trembling and silent listening to my own breathing under a harvest moon—here where the backs of my hands look up at me like burnt fields, where I am poised over the edge of this page, I ask in wonder and in mercy what night child of sky will become me in this planet of such tender verse, and who will wander with me down the remaining days of this life so holy I feel the cool air graze my eyeteeth where the full moon glows and I wake with happiness to once more be alive this early hour drenched with mystery in a century that talks too much, that is too busy and serious except for the trees and animals who know how to watch and how to listen, loving in all weather and what moves them to temple stillness where the word is beautiful and is not even spoken or written, is not even wet with ink but shining in the dark in great mercy and truth, a beam of light deep in the night making its way over the valleys and rivers, drawing clear water up into itself, saying the one astonishing thing over and over again, here where the word is beautiful and naked, glistening at last with truth and with the aching tenderness of a whole sky littered with stars whispering like a dying lover on the doorstep, Oh, my love, my precious love, how beautiful it all is, how wonderful, how precious still the single tear in my eye creating a whole lake for you to bathe in, come wade into my waters, immerse yourself until you are whole.
Robert Vivian is the author of The Tall Grass Trilogy, Water and Abandon and two meditative essay collections, Cold Snap As Yearning and The Least Cricket Of Evening. His first poetry book is called Mystery My Country. Traversings, his second, was co-written with the poet Richard Jackson. He teaches at Alma College and as a core faculty member at The Vermont College of Fine Arts.