The World Seems…

Gregory Orr - 1947-
The world seems so palpable
And dense: people and things
And the landscapes 
They inhabit or move through.

Words, on the other hand, 
Are so abstract—they’re
Made of empty air
Or black scratches on a page
That urge us to utter
Certain sounds.
                           And us:
Poised in the middle, aware
Of the objects out there
Waiting patiently to be named,
As if the right words 
Could save them. 
                               And don’t
They deserve it? 					
So much hidden inside each one,
Such a longing 
To become the beloved.

And inside us: the sounds 
That could extend that blessing—
How they crowd our mouths,
How they press up against
Our lips, which are such 
A narrow exit for a joy so desperate.

More by Gregory Orr

Love Poem

A black biplane crashes through the window 
of the luncheonette. The pilot climbs down, 
removing his leather hood. 
He hands me my grandmother's jade ring. 
No, it is two robin's eggs and 
a telephone number: yours.

Father's Song

Yesterday, against admonishment,
my daughter balanced on the couch back,
fell and cut her mouth.

Because I saw it happen I knew
she was not hurt, and yet
a child's blood so red
it stops a father's heart.

My daughter cried her tears;
I held some ice
against her lip.
That was the end of it.

Round and round: bow and kiss.
I try to teach her caution;
she tries to teach me risk. 

Untitled [This is what was bequeathed us]

This is what was bequeathed us:
This earth the beloved left
And, leaving,
Left to us.

No other world
But this one:
Willows and the river
And the factory
With its black smokestacks.

No other shore, only this bank
On which the living gather.

No meaning but what we find here.
No purpose but what we make.

That, and the beloved’s clear instructions:
Turn me into song; sing me awake.