Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Lost and Found

I am not lost.
On the contrary, I found myself
yesterday afternoon sitting in a red cedar chair
in my backyard, staring at birds
or perhaps waiting for the first star to burn
through the dark blue wake of afternoon,

always a sure giveaway that evening
is going to roll up the day,
catalog it, and send it to the museum of days
that is as invisible as the Ark of the Covenant.
I was careful not to disturb myself
since I was listening to a cardinal

perched in a gum tree compose a sonnet
on what it was like to defy gravity
for short periods of time.
White clouds, catching the last rays of sunset,
morphed from mountains into tall ships
with three sails and bowsprit needling the ocean

to stay ahead of advancing darkness
and the undiscovered country of dreams
that could swallow the entire crew
and spices from Turkish bazaars.
I seemed to be happy,
though I had a crease in my forehead

formed by a regret that reminds me
that sometimes I am an imbecile.
I crept away so as not to disturb myself,
glad to know that I was needling the ocean
and staying ahead of the jim-jams.
There will come a time

when I will erase the regret like a Cavalier poet.
I will defy gravity and soar
through the undiscovered country
that cannot be avoided forever.
For now, I am found,
content to let the cardinal be my prophet

and tell me in verse what it is like
to be free of regret and the sloping ground.

~William Hammett

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