This is how the movie ends in movies—
The fade, the retreat, image dissolving
into the bath that bore it.
I give you my thanks. Perhaps
you see that in my eyes, although
the only words I have left
are no doubt cruel.
What good is fighting now? You’re dying. Light will greet you wherever you go. Or it will not. Go gentle into that good night. Why rage against your sleep another night with fists that won’t unclench the twisted sheet? What good is fighting now? Your dying light shines its blossom of sharpened bones. Your plight,…Read More
My mother was the first pianist I ever heard. All through childhood I was spellbound by her gift, her virtuosity. Now I welcome her to my house, show her the grand piano, and lift the lid to its full height and glory. I ask her to join me on the black bench. At ninety my…Read More
Isaiah 43 I am making all things new! Or am trying to, being so surprised to be one of those guys who may be dying early. This is yet one more earthen declaration, uttered through a better prophet’s more durable mouth, with heart astir. It’s not oath-taking that I’m concerned with here, for what that’s…Read More
When I look up, into the needles of the cypress tree, brown in November, I see cinnamon—I see wood of violins, breast feathers of the sedge wren, a setter’s fur, toasted grain…. I see the cypress glowing within a cloudless noon, pale blue at horizon as background of a Botticelli annunciation, that turns unpaintably, achingly…Read More
Holy Week again: unleavened sky, all tensions held past hold. Mostly, what I feel is the unlikelihood. These days, pick a miracle, there’s science to explain it. Say it’s nighttime in the Garden, Jesus praying in a bloody sweat: Hematidrosis—rare; not unknown— …Read More
Nearing eighty, Fauré has found the end of sound. He never would have guessed it had so much to do with the Mediterranean light of childhood, or lake breezes swirling all summer at Savoy, and so little to do with music growing quieter everywhere but in his mind. He is relieved to hear the garbled…Read More
Madeline DeFrees is the author of two chapbooks and eight full-length poetry collections, including Spectral Waves (Copper Canyon, 2006) and Blue Dusk (Copper Canyon, 2001), winner of the 2002 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and a Washington Book Award, as well as two books of nonfiction about convent life. She spent many years as a nun…Read More
He looks skyward and sees he forgot to snap off the lamp in his upstairs study. He’d call it aging, but aging is not, he tells himself, a downward slope. He hadn’t climbed to get here. His life isn’t a hill. It’s more like a long sleep, with tens of thousands of dreams, dreams of…Read More