Friday, January 19, 2007

Freundinnen: Her Lost Friend Poem

It is a bad habit to appraise one's friends with the eyes of one taking leave of them forever. Worse still to be compelled to imagine what they will say to each other, once it has come to pass, concerning one's imminent death. --Christa Wolf

The circumstances of our lives
are the least important thing about us.

Still I am compelled to ask
where you are, how you are,
what you do, whom you love

if you still live

where your haunts are,
where your thoughts are.

It occurs to me that you
don't deserve my concern
after so much empty space and time,
certainly, monotonous time lost wondering
what has inevitably happened to you

without answers, without participation
why bother?

I would drop it all together,
leave it to chance alone -- our false,
timid intimacy --
except for one thing:

This separation may be final.

We may not appear
suddenly after some years, as before --
again in the same region
ready to haunt and understand
each other incompletely.

your silence may be your unwillingness
to do that anymore

that's all right
and all wrong
both with consequences

How casually you cast off friends!

I have personally wanted more future
to dispel anger and show forgiveness
driven this way toward ideal friendships

I am bound to be haunted by you --
and this is the greatest unkindness --
you know this about me, my tendency
to fixate and never unbind
connections of the greatest and most
trivial kind

I am not suited to forgetfulness

With what tenacity
that could move bridges if it were physical,
I have anchored on you,
my favorite sinking ship
and mystery

You were never so clear as in your absence

I waste myself this way,
choking over the past.
You are the last one to settle

All the others -- the grave stones
marked at last -- solved,
all useless to me now, ordinary
memories that don't make
me sicken.

This is why he and I
will last forever
my first clearly permanent bond:
we don't want anything.

What a freedom that is
for one year, mates who want nothing
that can be gotten from the other
or held back
as punishment

what perfection
to be so clean and unused

Love? I love him until it is absurd
and never forbidden
(how lucky that is)

I don't want any other person
this way.

To dangerously recant
what I've learned to a canyon --
you, who couldn't care, who
never received,
the ungiving -- the tenth ungiving
mother, another
imaginary fortress
I've used

how sharp. how personal.
public exposure -- all I've ever wanted --

Why would I want you to feel guilty?

I only want to know if you do
and how stupid that wanting is.
There are futures for us that are
immediate and unattainable

perfect as death.

(Ann Bogle, fall 1984)


Ann_Bogle said...

This must be my "Rilke" poem. I wouldn't mind rearranging the lines a bit -- since it is such an old poem for me -- surely I've learned a thing or two about line arrangements since then: since I was 22 (half my life ago), but I'll leave it as is, so you can see it, why I gave up writing poetry in favor of writing short stories.

Gledwood said...

Yes, death is the only perfection we ever find in this life!...

I like your verse: clear as a mountain stream. (Oh dear, am I getting cliched now??...!..)

I used to write poetry, too, you see...

Come by my blog, if you like. It will direct you to my old one, where the poetry is stored...

Tell me what you think!!

All the best, Gledwood