folder Filed in Poems
Four poems
Umbrella, hummingbird, dog, space, liquid meaning...
Bernard Steeds comment 0 Comments access_time 2 min read

This is how it begins

This is how it begins: with a few lines written

On a sheet of old paper that you found in the

Back of the dresser in that seaside house you so

Rarely even go to these days, but felt called to

Just this Monday as you set down your work for the

First time in so long.  A soft, old note almost chewed

At the edges by the faint-winged insects of time.

Or the air itself, so liquid with memory:

Pencil marks, sentences, so rich without meaning.

How a river makes meaning

If memory was a kind of faded thing, which

sat in a corner, unwatched, unheard, as if it was

just some old tyre iron or umbrella stand, some piece

of not really anything at all, just picked up

on a dusty afternoon out making mess in

a shop raising funds for one of those old churches,

what would be the loss? If you could find or lose it

so easily, as if it was one of those twigs

you see sometimes where the river meets the ocean.

Perhaps there is an eternal something

One of these days you will notice a thread or a

musical chord, F minor reverberating

on a halfwound string, or the sound of a piano

key played softly and far off by a beautiful

hand, Richter let’s say—just a single note sent out

from Odessa, lamenting the bullet that took

his father—but what space has it passed through, that

chord, or that bullet, that it arrives so clear?  Is

it something, or nothing, or a little of both?

House guests

Some of the things that get in

to this house are a

little unexpected, like

the scorpions in

the bath, the little golden

snake on the kitchen

floor, the dog that looks like a

wolf but is insane

with bounding and slobbering

joy, or the little

hummingbird that came in through

the window and stayed,

humming of course, until it

trapped itself under

the stairs.

Its wings like fur against my

closed palms for one


moment as I walk to

the open door.

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