OLD FRIENDS

August [2] 2008

(Poem)

old-friends-image-pipei1

Always we stay

such good friends

sharing a cave.


I see us now

by those few chairs

of our den,

sitting on the the cold clay

choking

while we talk

our sinful wisdom

and gloat in the humor

of our splendid shyness.


I think of the saints

and the martyrs

who sleep on hard floors

and scent their spiteful caves

with dingy hermit’s wax,

and I know

that we simpletons of the frontier

can sing our hymns anywhere.


Our songs have burnt through brown

and amber autumns,

warmed our paws over frozen craters,

blanched our summer beards;

for we are old friends

who have eaten much fox,

sturdy mountain goats

who have trudged virgin rivers

on swings of spiked wood brush.


Old friends,

echoing many silent sermons–

why time gets so crisp,

why we’ve been here so long

and each year mountains seem less high

and we smell so much sweeter.


1978

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