"HE HAD HOPED IT COULD BE
DONE WITHOUT AUTUMN"
He had hoped it could be done without autumn.
Sudden snow. Ascetic white. Precise cold.
Less thinking about its significance,
more attention to the healing from it--
and get it over with. Not this months-long
stripping of dead boughs, the sorting out,
cleaning up, such endless unraveling of loss
it makes him want to go re-hang leaves on every branch.
Without bitterness, he had hoped it could be done.
But the whole garden rots from hourly blasts
of rain, then seethes from a minute of sun.
Oh, if everything could just expire, and nothing
needed to last.
FINGERPRINTS ON A WINDOW
I believe poetry is like fingerprints
on a window, behind which a child who can't sleep
stands waiting for dawn. Mist rises from the earth,
a sigh of sadness. Clouds
provide for twenty-five kinds of light.
In fact, they hold it back: backlight.
It's still too early to be now. But the rivers
are already leaving. They heard the hum
of the sea's silver factories.
My daughter stands next to me by the window. To
is the best way to remember all of this.
Birds find, in the forge of their sound, the word
gone, gone, gone.
--Herman de Coninck
translated by Laure-Anne Bosselaar and Kurt Brown
Translation copyright c 2006 by Laure-Anne Bosselaar
and Kurt Brown. May not be reproduced without permission.