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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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THREE POEMS
Bryanna Johnson


CALL TO ARMS


we and the world, my children,
will always be at war
cup your ears for the great, grey noise
of the maelstrom at the door
long in the shrunken westward light
grow the shadows on the floor

make war, my little children,
with the grim, unseemly jests,
war with the lights on all the streets
of the city that never rests
make yourselves a vicious war
with the sadness in your breasts

make war, my little children
with the resident death in art,
war with the needle-thorns in the woods,
war with the crooked chart
make war with the overbold black beast
and run him through the heart.

make war, my little children,
with the sandbars and the spray,
war with all of the mooring ropes
in the prison of the bay,
and come the end of the long defeat, 
loosed, be on your way.

 

 

 

WHAT HANNAH SAID

“Way leads on to way, as the poet says, and what is done is hard to undo. And yet love is not satisfied with such answers but remembers and endures all things and yearns across the distances.”  
                (–Wendell Berry, Hannah Coulter)

So what if at the divergence

and the sundering of the road

you sundered yourself

from me and mine and the white egrets

and the new-mown grass in the meadow?
So what if love bears all things,

believes all things, and comes sometimes

to rest at the pit of despair?
She will nevertheless make her violent war

with the one imperturbable adversary.

She will nevertheless yearn across the distances

between the way you are gone

and the way you might not have.  

 




IN CONFIDENCE

“What is real about us all is that each of us is waiting.”
        (–W.H. Auden, A Christmas Oratorio)

for the clean sun the clean rain
the big wave and the grey-eyed hurricane
for the children to come home
we have put supper on
it will not be long now

for red over the great hills
the big fish with the gold scales and thirsty gills
for the blue river to arrive
out of the high mountains
it will not be long

for the white star, the white horse
and whatever is at the end of course
for the little lacy flowers to open
for the wet butterfly-tongues
not long now

for the trumpets of the trains
the big sky smoky-white with aeroplanes
we will jump high laughing
waving our small hands so fast
not long 

for whatever is coming
with big slow footsteps and soft humming
to get here wearing just
whatever it has on hand
will be perfect

we who have been hanging, hanging
on the noises in the darkness
will not hang back we will
run forward with our arms wide
calling welcome welcome