Blue winter doors

I've neglected this spot for a while, but I keep track of all the passing things I mean to tell you. Last Tuesday, for instance, at 5:21pm I wrote down: mackerel sky, pink! I was sending a package at this strip mall in midtown and everything was hideous and a kind of cold drizzle was falling, but there in the southeastern sky...

Since you were, as usual, nowhere in sight, I told the old, Indian man at the counter that he should walk to the front of his store and take a peek at the sky. After I leave, I said, thinking he wouldn't have to then. And he said, I'll do it right now, so we walked up to the windows and stood there staring past the cars and power lines, and he told me, This makes things interesting. When I drove away, he was still looking, even though the light was gone.


The next day, a friend took me to a house she's thinking of buying to show me its barn. The building is long and low, a hundred years old, and a little worn out in the elbows, but otherwise very much a barn. We peered in the windows and tramped up to every door.

barn door.JPG

There were a lot of doors. The last one made me think of Maggie Nelson's Bluets: 'At the bottom of the swimming pool, I watched the white winter light spangle the cloudy blue and I knew together they made God.'

And also of 'The Door' by Robert Creeley whom I met once shortly before he died and not far away from the barn door above, the one which will belong to my friend if she buys this house, and the one which finally was unlocked and let us in. Here's the poem--I think of you every time I read it:

The Door

for Robert Duncan

It is hard going to the door

cut so small in the wall where

the vision which echoes loneliness   

brings a scent of wild flowers in a wood.


What I understood, I understand.

My mind is sometime torment,   

sometimes good and filled with livelihood,   

and feels the ground.


But I see the door,

and knew the wall, and wanted the wood,   

and would get there if I could

with my feet and hands and mind.


Lady, do not banish me   

for digressions. My nature   

is a quagmire of unresolved   

confessions. Lady, I follow.


I walked away from myself,

I left the room, I found the garden,

I knew the woman

in it, together we lay down.


Dead night remembers. In December   

we change, not multiplied but dispersed,   

sneaked out of childhood,

the ritual of dismemberment.


Mighty magic is a mother,

in her there is another issue

of fixture, repeated form, the race renewal,   

the charge of the command.


The garden echoes across the room.   

It is fixed in the wall like a mirror   

that faces a window behind you   

and reflects the shadows.


May I go now?

Am I allowed to bow myself down

in the ridiculous posture of renewal,

of the insistence of which I am the virtue?

Nothing for You is untoward.   

Inside You would also be tall,   

more tall, more beautiful.

Come toward me from the wall, I want to be with You.


So I screamed to You,

who hears as the wind, and changes   

multiply, invariably,

changes in the mind.


Running to the door, I ran down

as a clock runs down. Walked backwards,   

stumbled, sat down

hard on the floor near the wall.


Where were You.

How absurd, how vicious.

There is nothing to do but get up.

My knees were iron, I rusted in worship, of You.


For that one sings, one

writes the spring poem, one goes on walking.   

The Lady has always moved to the next town   

and you stumble on after Her.


The door in the wall leads to the garden   

where in the sunlight sit

the Graces in long Victorian dresses,   

of which my grandmother had spoken.


History sings in their faces.

They are young, they are obtainable,   

and you follow after them also

in the service of God and Truth.


But the Lady is indefinable,   

she will be the door in the wall   

to the garden in sunlight.   

I will go on talking forever.


I will never get there.

Oh Lady, remember me

who in Your service grows older   

not wiser, no more than before.


How can I die alone.

Where will I be then who am now alone,   

what groans so pathetically

in this room where I am alone?


I will go to the garden.

I will be a romantic. I will sell   

myself in hell,

in heaven also I will be.


In my mind I see the door,

I see the sunlight before me across the floor   

beckon to me, as the Lady’s skirt

moves small beyond it.


(via Poetry Magazine)