WHAT MISSES US

“Love is an accident” —old saying

What misses us—is not—you and me.

Desire is slavery—and you and I are free.

How did this warm evening find you and I together at the entrance of the park

Where on beautiful warm evenings we once held each other in the dark?

This is a warm evening too,

But warm evenings—no—everything—is forbidden now to me and you.

You and I accidentally cross paths going home

By the same way, and I hurry on, and do not dare to look at you,

But it makes me feel things, and I’m sure it makes you feel things, too,

Having been here many times together, and now each of us alone.

It is late October and the growing darkness and the first autumn freeze

Makes tonight’s surprising mild air—and by chance, seeing you—a night I will remember,

More so than when our love was fully expressed, and your head lay gently upon my chest—remember?

Before I reach my door, still thinking of you, I linger in front of a large tree sighing in the breeze.

On high is a bright white three-quarter moon

Moving on to fullness, and I make a wish because of this, that we might be reunited soon,

Though I’m not allowed to have thoughts like this

Because desire is slavery and poison lives in a slave’s kiss.

What misses us is what kisses us—the solemn world of the outdoors, nature and her man-made park

Where we worshiped everything from dawn to dark.

Isn’t it strange, how the more we ought to remember, the more of that we ought to remember, we forget?

And here, where I glimpsed you only for an instant, here, by this poem, memory will pay its debt?

The poem’s idea: a mild breeze and thoughts of you are enough to make me glad,

As I stand in front of the moon and a tall tree rustling, and hear you speaking. Am I mad

To think the park misses us, and wonders where we are? That nature felt our love

And this is what misses our love—not reluctant you, not selfish me?

Desire is slavery—in my mind I keep seeing your dear face—and you and I are free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Comments

  1. maryangeladouglas said,

    October 26, 2015 at 12:20 am

    This is a beautiful poem and very transporting as reading it I could feel the wind, the evening and rejoice in resolution of it in inexplicable peace and beauty. Truly an extraordinary poem and worthy of long existence.

  2. maryangeladouglas said,

    October 26, 2015 at 12:28 am

    P.S. I wrote this poem today kind of melding different early memories of my mother and my sister and, of myself, a kind of melange of things I miss. That still seem very vivid to me.

    THEY WILL WANT YOU TO TELL THE STORY

    they will want you to tell the story
    as though it had cherries embroidered
    in every corner

    as if it were spun sugar
    rosebud pink, nightlighted home.
    and you in your scarab braclet,

    your gipsy skirts for
    the school assembly.
    fifteen petticoats.

    they will wait for the chime
    of every xylophone colour
    and you will oblige them.

    you, with your apple blossom
    tendencies. your perfect spelling.
    but I remember distinctly

    your throat full of crystal tears
    sparkling as the children say
    like diamonds; your snow bright

    necklaces under Orion signifying…

    we got lost
    just going to the corner store
    around the block

    or if it’s all the same to us-
    and it was, the weather
    turned into

    rhinestones we loved as much.
    selections of cordial cherries in the drug stores.
    everything was gemmy then

    the week before Christmas
    so that we keep going back
    only to leave again.

    mary angela douglas 25 october 2015

    • thomasbrady said,

      October 26, 2015 at 2:32 am

      Mary Angela Douglas, this brought tears to my eyes! Thank you! Thank you! You do have the gift. This might be the best poem I’ve seen of yours. “They will wait for the chime/of every xylophone color/and you will oblige them” is where the poem really takes off…and the sweet little details, the “gemmy” theme, and the last 4 lines of the poem! Marvelous. You write so sincerely, from the heart, evoking joy, without any intrusive ‘learning’ or ‘cynicism.’ You are like a living Emily Dickinson. Keep writing and posting here. Scarriet will have to feature you. Don’t stop!!!

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        October 26, 2015 at 5:57 am

        Thank you so much Thomas Graves for your kind and generous words. I am very honored to appear in Scarriet even as a footnote because of what it represents to me in light of your unmistakable dedication to Poetry itself and I mean Poetry with a capital “P” as well as your insistence on the immutability of many of the great poets of the past in the English language. I felt a shift in the poem as I was writing it with that phrase xylophone colours too. My sister has been ill and is slowly recovering and the sorrow and hope of this has sharpened my sense of the past in my Grandmother’s house that was filled to overflowing with music and a reverence for poetry and beauty (not to mention innumerable eccentricities and a devout Faith-) I have increasing respect for the human race even going through a little of starting to lose what matters to me most and turning to poetry as much as to God is helping me more than cope.

        • David Bittner said,

          November 12, 2015 at 11:29 pm

          Hi, Tom–It’s David Bittner here, wondering about my latest submission to Scarriet–it was e-mailed to you successfully, once, I think (our computers here at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm badly need to be replaced). and then two computer print-outs of the essay were sent to the Salem address. Now, I don’t think anybody could say that I didn’t support my generalizations with enough specific examples (a common gripe of college professors, including Mr. Samuels at Northwestern), and I think the concept of the article has freshness. If you don’t agree that the piece would have wide reader appeal, at least couldn’t it just be put at the end of “If Love Should Make Me Greedy and Unkind”? We could treat the post as a “Salon des Refuses”! I’d have no objection to that, but would just be glad to have the article included somewhere, after all that work. Yours, David P.S. The article was titled, “Nostalgic Journalist’s Quest for Arcane Facts Leads to Unlocking of Iowa Synagogue’s Old Secret.”

          • thomasbrady said,

            November 13, 2015 at 1:02 pm

            David,

            You’ll be happy to know I’ve decided to publish your piece as a feature. I’m adding a few introductory remarks to ease Scarriet readers into classic Bittner. Your style is different from ours. Please be patient. Before the end of the year.

            Tom

            • David said,

              November 17, 2015 at 3:15 am

              I’ll be patient, then, Tom. I’m just glad the thing didn’t get lost in cyberspace, which is what I feared at first. Yours, David


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