23 December 2009 | Vol. 9, No. 4


Along the grassy creek-bank—upstream a beaver's dam, cobbled rust black limbs—all fragrance sunk deep in brown. The mud spattered turtle inches, and down in the slow bubble, the glass black and pebble, an eye—a cold February eye. It shimmers there, blinks; I am the frog song, the shrill whine of insects—

There is a long braid of hair I know from its dance; the way it whispers, becomes sage, burns, curls out and downstream, skimming the surface toward a footbridge; I climb in, sit where translucent spiders pick their way over the stones, work their silk in dense clouds between and wait—

Spring unfurls a dilating koan: a painting of a blanket made of hogshead, a sheepskin of watery wine—measure upon measure of rest. Diffident melody, like a knife across the tongue, like the blood left there, that shabby remainder. The deep gray iris begins the coda.

Snow caps the bridge posts, the dry crowns of dolomite and shale. Wide oak leaves chart the current—some intact, some chewed, tattered—and through all the icy white, I am warm. I bend and lap the water like a deer, a dog.

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About the author:

John R. Beardsley currently resides in Richmond, VA, where he is completing an MFA in Poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University.

For further reading:

Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 9, No. 4, where "Liebeslieder" ran on December 23, 2009. List other work with these same labels: poetry, prose poem.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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