20 April 2007

Steady Now

In June of 2005 I was in the Salt Lake City airport en route to a summer guiding job in Wyoming. Out of some odd impulse, I picked up The New Yorker. It was odd, in that I tend to stay away from The New Yorker. Whenever I have had a subscription, the issues pile up and keep coming until they form a paper testament to everything I will never accomplish in my life-- chief among them, keeping up with the damn New Yorker.

So I stay away from it. In general. Except for that time. That time I found a poem in it by Eamon Grennan. I liked the poem so much I tore out the little corner it ran on, folded it up into quadrants, and jammed it into the handy pocket in the back of the Moleskine notebook I use as journal and wallet.

I carried it around all summer, vaguely aware it was there. Then I found it again one morning in early September 2005, when I was exhausted and sad about what had happenen to my city and to my friends and family and neighbors.

I saw the words differently then. But I still thought it was a good poem. And reading it this morning, I still think it's a very good poem. So here it is.
Steady Now

Although things vanish, are what mark our vanishing,
we still hold on to them-ballast against the updraft
of oblivion-as I hold on to this umbrella in a world of rain,

of heavy wet greens and grays dissolving into a new
atmosphere, a sort of underwater dulled electric glow
off everything, the air itself drowning in it, breath

thickening, growing mold. Yesterday I felt the smell
of grass greeting me as across a great distance, trying
to tell me some good thing in an underglaze of memory,

some forgotten summer trying to speak its piece. It is
the way of things and it never stops, never calls a halt-
this knocking and dismantling, this uprooting, cutting out

and digging down, so tall oaks and honey locusts are
laid low and drop to earth like felled cattle, shaking
the ground we've taken a stand on as if it were a steady

establishment, a rock of ages to outface ruin itself, not
the provisional slippery dissolving dissolute thing it is-
which we have against all evidence set our hearts on.