The Point

This was written awhile ago, but more recently revised.  It was part of a poetry exercise in which we read Adam Zagajewski’s poem To Go To Lvov* aloud, then wrote down 10 memorable phrases or images without looking back at the original.  From those, we created a poem.  It’s an interesting exercise.  It’s also interesting, now, to go back to the original and see how differently I read the poem and which of the ’10 memorable phrases’ from that initial meeting  are still in this revised and rewritten poem.     

The Point

All those nights we
parked the car
at the dusty turn-off
and crept along
the moonlit path
to the mesa’s end,

Wearing our innocence
like party hats
we’d tackle
the big questions
using borrowed voices
to trade hand-me-down thoughts.

The belief that our minds
were all we needed
stood as straight as Sunday,
teaching us to
recite the Tao Te Ching
rehearse Chopin etudes.

It carried us as far as
that mesa’s edge, the point
of our fledgling departures
from the place that fooled us
into thinking we knew it all.

We couldn’t have known then
the way our feathers would fall,
the way we’d lose our convictions
like milk teeth

Or how we would abandon
those notions of the infinite
for a dime-store edition
of the working man’s
wisdom (keep the change,

Now we are not broken, but older,
and find more joy in
plucking wild raspberries than
delivering midnight soliloquies
to the dry summer sky.

Shall we walk once more?

*This links to the translation by Clare Cavanaugh, which is the one I read.  There is another translation here, but it appears it can only be accessed online in the US due to copyright issues.

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