“Horses at Midnight Without a Moon” –by Jack Gilbert (1925-2012)
Our heart wanders lost in the dark woods. Our dream wrestles in the castle of doubt. But there’s music in us. Hope is pushed down but the angel flies up again taking us with her. The summer mornings begin inch by inch while we sleep, and walk with us later as long-legged beauty through the dirty streets. It is no surprise that danger and suffering surround us. What astonishes is the singing. We know the horses are there in the dark meadow because we can smell them, can hear them breathing. Our spirit persists like a man struggling through the frozen valley who suddenly smells flowers and realizes the snow is melting out of sight on top of the mountain, knows that spring has begun.
I can’t believe I haven’t posted this Jack Gilbert (1925-2012) poem yet. Happy Sunday.
“Music Is In the Piano Only When It Is Played”
We are not one with this world. We are not the complexity our body is, nor the summer air idling in the big maple without purpose. We are a shape the wind makes in these leaves as it passes through. We are not the wood any more than the fire, but the heat which is a marriage between the two. We are certainly not the lake nor the fish in it, but the something that is pleased by them. We are the stillness when a mighty Mediterranean noon subtracts even the voices of insects by the broken farmhouse. We are evident when the orchestra plays, and yet are not part of the strings or brass. Like the song that exists only in the singing, and is not the singer. God does not live among the church bells but is briefly resident there. We are occasional like that. A lifetime of easy happiness mixed with pain and loss, trying always to name and hold on to the enterprise under way in our chest. Reality is not what we marry as a feeling. It is what walks up the dirt path, through the excessive heat and giant sky, the sea stretching away. He continues past the nunnery to the old villa where he will sit on the terrace with her, their sides touching. In the quiet that is the music of that place, which is the difference between silence and windlessness.