Yellow Stars and Ice
I am as far as the deepest sky between clouds and you are as far as the deepest root and wound, and I am as far as a train at evening, as far as a whistle you can't hear or remember. You are as far as an unimagined animal who, frightened by everything, never appears. I am as far as cicadas and locusts and you are as far as the cleanest arrow that has sewn the wind to the light on the birch trees. I am as far as the sleep of rivers that stains the deepest sky between clouds, you are as far as invention, and I am as far as memory. You are as far as a red-marbled stream where children cut their feet on the stones and cry out. And I am as far as their happy mothers, bleaching new linen on the grass and singing, "You are as far as another life, as far as another life are you." And I am as far as an infinite alphabet made from yellow stars and ice, and you are as far as the nails of the dead man, as far as a sailor can see at midnight when he's drunk and the moon is an empty cup, and I am as far as invention and you are as far as memory. I am as far as the corners of a room where no one has ever spoken, as far as the four lost corners of the earth. And you are as far as the voices of the dumb, as the broken limbs of saints and soldiers, as the scarlet wing of the suicidal blackbird, I am farther and farther away from you. And you are as far as a horse without a rider can run in six years, two months and five days. I am as far as that rider, who rubs his eyes with his blistered hands, who watches a ghost don his jacket and boots and now stands naked in the road. As far as the space between word and word, as the heavy sleep of the perfectly loved and the sirens of wars no one living can remember, as far as this room, where no words have been spoken, you are as far as invention, and I am as far as memory.
From Yellow Stars and Ice by Susan Stewart, published by Princeton University Press. Copyright © 1981 by Susan Stewart. All rights reserved.
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Susan Stewart was born in 1952. She is the author of several poetry collections, including Cinder: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 2017).
Date Published: 1981-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/yellow-stars-and-ice