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


  1. I particularly love the image of the gas-jets and kettle...

    1. Thanks, Neva. That's my favorite image in the poem, too.