Lean Closer…

When It Comes

Any time. Now. The next minute.
Years from today. You lean forward
and wait. You relax, but you don’t forget.

Someone plans an elaborate party
with a banquet, dancing, even fireworks
when feasting is over. You look at them:

All those years when you searched the world
like a ferret, these never happened – your marriage,
your family, prayers, curses. Only dreams.

A vacuum has opened everywhere. Cities,
armies, those chairs ranked in the great
hall for the audience – there isn’t anyone.

Like a shutter the sky opens and closes
and the show is over. The next act
will deny that anything ever happened.

Your hand falls open. It is empty. It never
held a knife, a flower, gold,
or love, or now. Lean closer –

Listen to me: there isn’t any hand.

William Stafford

 

 

 


Thank you Whiskey River for sharing William Stafford poetry: The Answers Are Inside the Mountains

Thank you Anake Goodall for sharing Artist: Tanha, Iran

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Comments

  1. Okay, nobody wants to take the bull by the horns. Are we talking about death or did I have one glass of wine too many? David, this isn’t like you, leaving us guessing. Maybe we’re talking about Alzheimers or Parkinsons? Very like death – precursors. Very sad. Somebody tell me I’m way out in left field.

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  2. Reblogged this on Space for lasam and commented:
    Reblog: Learn Closer

    by William Stafford through David Kanigan

    When It Comes
    Any time. Now. The next minute.
    Years from today. You lean forward
    and wait. You relax, but you don’t forget.
    Someone plans an elaborate party
    with a banquet, dancing, even fireworks
    when feasting is over. You look at them:
    All those years when you searched the world
    like a ferret, these never happened – your marriage,
    your family, prayers, curses. Only dreams.
    A vacuum has opened everywhere. Cities,
    armies, those chairs ranked in the great
    hall for the audience – there isn’t anyone.
    Like a shutter the sky opens and closes
    and the show is over. The next act
    will deny that anything ever happened.
    Your hand falls open. It is empty. It never
    held a knife, a flower, gold,
    or love, or now. Lean closer –
    Listen to me: there isn’t any hand.
    – William Stafford http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Stafford_%28poet%29

    Like

  3. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    OK. First thought – creepy.
    Second – dark and nihilistic. Don’t want to live this way.
    Third – read your comment and am trying to see something less black. Can’t.
    Fourth – going back to the sunny side.
    Have a lovely day!

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  4. I wish I had read this last night instead of 4:30 Thursday morning. My first impressions were of death – whether it’s the final act or the death of a moment, a chapter in one’s life – I’m not sure. And though there is the sense that one has experienced much joy, it underscores how ephemeral it all was – and that just further propels the sadness surrounding these words. I don’t know…that’s my two cents (U.S.) – which is also not worth very much.

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  5. I too found this to be very dark. Like wordsfromanneli, I think it’s about Alzheimer’s. Very sad…..or about someone who is delusional ……what made you select this? I’m curious.

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    • Perhaps. That’s one view. Cannot deny the beauty of his writing and the symbolism. When something stops me in my tracks – – forces me to think – – shakes me to my roots – – I deem it worthy. I found the poem to measure up. Message: Live Now. Live life to its fullest.

      Like

  6. Joel secundy says:

    Complete surrender. Peace and acceptance.

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  7. David, I am pretty sure you are talking about that “final party”, the one where the hand is empty because 1) we cannot take anything material with us; and 2) because we will no longer be touched by any human hands–so no hand is there!

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