Moonlight window. Photo by Fellowship of the Rich.

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“The Search” and “The Stream”

The Search

Then the moon comes up after all
and with a glow bright enough to wake
you through the bedroom curtains;
the night outside,
                    one vast luminous
room beside which indoor rooms seem to
belong to a preliminary, rudimentary
             and her there shining—
mother, daughter, friend, anima mundi
so still and low it’s almost as though
you hadn’t broken every vow you
ever made in the wayside tabernacles
of the cosmos behind the forehead.
Go back to bed,
                     close your eyes,
resolved this time to make it through
to the other side of the dark, find
a place to set up shop, work without
letup by the light love supplies, rid
at last of mental fuss.
                                Soon you’re
walking down a deserted road through
a nighttime countryside, wondering
if one of the locals is acquainted with
the lesser-known lunar writings.
       are few, everyone’s asleep,
the air suffused with a beautiful half-light
whose source you can’t place. You’re
strangely unafraid and in no hurry.


The Stream

Through the woods out
my window runs a stream
whose distant windings
bring to mind the mythic
town which, so the story
goes, appears for just one
day every hundred years
and into whose apparition
a stranger from this world
happens on one such day
to wander. In the version
I remember, the question
on which the story turns
is this: will he remain with
the beautiful townswoman
with whom he fell in love
that astonishing morning,
returning with her and her
town to who knows where
exactly—or not? Likewise
my stream can only be seen
from a particular window
for a short while on certain
mornings when a perfect
angle of illumination all
at once reveals a flashing
galaxy of winding light
way off in the depths of
dark hemlocks. One day
I may go back with it to
the place it comes from
like a stranger called by
love to a vanishing town.


These poems were first published in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin, and “The Search” was later chosen for the Best Spiritual Writing series (Penguin, 2012), edited by Philip Zaleski. Both were also included in Visiting Night at the Academy of Longing (Lavender Ink, 2016), by Kate Farrell.