Thank you for visiting. Difficult River is a collection of original poetry created by Martin A. Bartels. Constructive critique and comments are welcome. All work is copyrighted. Thanks to the great folks at 'Verse Wisconsin,' 'Poetry24,' the 'Found Poetry Review,' and 'The Rumpus' for publishing my work, and to everyone who has offered support and encouragement.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
At the End of the Day
(Author's note: This poem was first published atninaalvarez.net, as winner of her 5th anniversary poetry contest.Thanks, Nina! And congratulations on 5 great years supporting poetry and poets. —MAB)
A simple place to write with a friendly pub nearby.
Land to grow vegetables and herbs for our evening stew.
A landscape of pasture lands, a river nearby for fish,
the cheap cuts of steer or pig, a plucked chicken
(save the parts for stock). A cast iron pan. Good wine.
A quiet place to read where the land stretches its legs,
reminds us that we are humbled eternally by grace and
beauty. To know these moments is our only ambition.
At the end of the day you come home to what you are.
The corporate ladder is climbed primarily to patch walls and
change light bulbs. The serene young blonde at the corner
has aspirations. She will either live them or not, both
equally poignant. The herons defend their twilight, blue-grey
mystics in a perpetual stance of expectation, until their
explode in the urgent energy of exploration. Mythic dances
unfold unobserved. These are our first angels. The moon in
daylight pretends to be a cloud. Nimbus or cumulus, I’m
In daylight the moon is a won ton, cloud-swallowing
the monk who chops wood before and after enlightenment.
Wood chips on the grill smoke white cloud riffs against the
The clouds themselves are thin fish bones; sky soup. The
moves through us at the same pace as clouds. The moon
remains still. The moon is a skull in this light, not
ponderous. Strange dreams flow out of it that remind you of
long poem by Harrison. The moon in daylight said this to me:
You are the changing
line in the I Ching symbol that suggests
you will be a great
man one day. I am buckled by the notion,
having no such pretensions. The old man who told me we are
born with nothing has it wrong. We come into this world
with everything. We leave with everything.
c. 2012, by Martin A. Bartels. Part of my new collection, Unlanguage