R. J. ANDRES
R. J. Andres is a technical editor and feature
writer for Golf Magazine.
Life can only be understood backward,
but it must be lived forward.
is always before,
is the tenacious grip of dawn on the water,
the early sun rousting the wet grass and spilling light on leaves,
is the barely glimpsed deer in the deep shadowed woods
listening and waiting on the wind,
and the very moment before falcons dive
stitching sky to ground.
Beginning in the gray light of pre-dawn,
for a few hours I sit in a Jon boat
out in the middle of the lake
and cast long whispering lines and lures
that hang for a time before striking centers and circles..
In the softness of midday there is the calling song of cardinals
leaving hopeful silences before and after,
and the quiet stalled surprise of mating dragonflies
laddering on the air.
The color of silence is the warm earth waiting for rain,
the raw leaves of spring wet and greening,
the orange yawning of lilies in the garden,
the red of roses and tomatoes tugging at the sun,
and the white fall of a heron’s feather.
Before sunset, walking on the shore, circling round the curve
of the lake,
I see the heron’s feather now floating on the still surface,
the bare spines of trout left on the shallow edge,
and lying in the thin grass
is a bird’s skeleton with bones like lace,
each of these signs of fossil poetry
telling me how much after implies the love songs of before.
Language is fossil poetry.
said that over time every name
surrenders its first song,
sheds its lyric skin,
and moves from poetry to algebra.
So, to flesh out, infuse, ignite,
we have adjectives out there impressing nouns
adverbs cozying up to verbs,
and each of those verbal pretenders
(gerunds and participles)
always and everywhere acting out.
As for telling tales,
when Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Shakespeare,
Melville, Frost, Whitman, and Steinbeck
are here befriending us,
we feel their tenses taking hold
and fixing what is to what was,
what could be, would be, or what ought to be.
And, of course, it’s never really enough!
While we know a shadow is never the object
nor any name the very thing itself,
we rejoice in knowing that in every sunrise
what will survive its poem and prevail
salmon, frog, oak, nest, river, rose, apple, hawk,