I've not been able to get this poem by Linda Gregg out of my mind for the past two weeks. She is a woman made of presence; and sitting in the same room as Jack Gilbert, Gerald Stern, and too many other poets I respect to name, I couldn't take my eyes off of her as she read from Monolithos. Just thinking about that night makes my face split open! However, this is a poem from her first collection, Too Bright to See.
Something was pouring out. Filling the field
and making it vacant. A wind blowing them
sideways as they moved forward. The crying
as before. Suddenly I understood why they left
the empty bowls on the table, in the empty hut
overlooking the sea. And knew the meaning
of the heron breaking branches, spreading
his wings in order to rise up out of the dark
woods into the night sky. I understood about
the lovers and the river in January.
Heard the crying out as a battlement,
of greatness, and then the dying began.
The height of passion. Saw the breaking
of the moon and the shattering of the sun.
Believed in the miracle because of the half heard
and the other half seen. How they ranged
and how they fed. Let loose their cries.
One could call it the agony in the garden,
or the paradise, depending on whether
the joy was at the beginning, or after.
“Now I Understand” by Linda Gregg