Poem of the week: from Book of Hours, Kevin Young

The light here leaves you
lonely, fading
as does the dusk
that takes too long
to arrive. By morning
the mountain moving
a bit closer to the sun.
This valley belongs
to no one—
except birds who name
themselves by their songs
in the dawn.
What good
are wishes, if they aren’t
used up
The lamp of your arms.
The brightest
blue beneath the clouds—
We guess
at what’s next
unlike the mountain
who knows it
in the bones, a music
too high
to scale.
*       *       *
The burnt,
blurred world
where does it end—
The wind
kicks up the scent
from the stables
where horseshoes hold
not just luck, but
beyond. But
weight. But a body
that itself burns,
begs to run.
The gondola quits just
past the clouds.
The telephone poles
tall crosses in the road.
Let us go
each, into the valley—
turn ourselves
& our hairshirts
inside out, let the world
itch—for once—
*       *       *
Black like an eye
bruised night brightens
by morning, yellow
then grey—
a memory.
What the light was like.
All day the heat a heavy,
colored coat.
I want to lie
down like the lamb—
down & down
till gone—
shorn of its wool.
The cool
of setting & rising
in this valley,
the canyon between us
shoulders our echoes.
Moan, & make way.
*       *       *
The sun’s small fury
feeds me.
Wind dying down.
We delay, & dither
then are lifted
into it, brightness
all about—
O setting.
O the music
as we soar
is small, yet sating.
What you want—
Nobody, or nothing
fills our short journeying.
Above even the birds,
winging heavenward,
the world is hard
to leave behind
or land against—
must end.
I mean to make it.
Turning slow beneath
our feet,
finding sun, seen
from above,
this world looks
like us—mostly
salt, dark water.
*       *       *
It’s death there
is no cure for
life the long
If we’re lucky.
Otherwise, short
trip beyond.
And below.
growing shadow.
I chase the quiet
round the house.
Soon the sound—
wind wills
its way against
the panes. Welcome
the rain.
the moon’s squinting
into space.
The trees
bow like priests.
The storm lifts
up the leaves.
Why not sing.

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