I Remember Earth: For Earth Day













I remember Earth.
To step outside on a summer evening,
listening to the voice of the one you loved,
was almost more than we could bear. 

But we could not make it last.
We asked too much of her,
and everything she asked
of us we waved away.

One last regret? That as she
passes, all our memories go with her.

Frank Beck
April 22, 2015


The Sun Lifts the Branches


The sun lifts the branches of the elm trees
into the flock of perched sparrows.
It wipes night from the wings of gulls, and,
where they glide, it steers the clouds.

It lifts the print from the page, the wind
through pine trees where each needle shines
enumerated in the light; it lifts
the curtain into the room it lights.

It lifts each object in the room into
heaven, one day at a time, then
drops everything into night, exhausted.
The dark that follows sets the leopard free.

At night I feel the sun drill towards my sleep
through the stone of the Great Wall.
In the kitchen, before dawn, its gas-jets hold
the kettle like a pair of hands.

New Brunswick, Spring 1976

Edgartown Midnight


The poem ends, and we return to
the beach to let the moon affect us.
Edgartown lies silent, sleeps under sea-breeze,
Orion overhead cartwheeling.
Someone dreams just past that window.

And Orion and Diana pursue us
to the beach where we cannot tell
if it is Sappho's selanna or the moon
that kept up with the cars of our childhood.

The light off wave-blue and eye-blue are brothers,
though when eyes and the shore combine
two distinct midnights darken.
But talk spills into both,
and if, for a moment, we inhabit
each other's morning, the horizon stretches
and the moon nearing it enlarges.

Now we lie silent and long
under moonlight's subtle abrasions,
as wave after wave falls forward,
and the tide sings through its stations.