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Clear Night by Charles Wright


Just checking in, writes J., one evening. To see if I’m okay. To see if I’m still alive. Maybe.

Too many people to grieve these days. One of them is myself although I don’t know exactly why I’m on the list. I just am.

I am alive—I guess—. Emily Dickinson in my head, but without the affirmation in the end.

Clear Night
Charles Wright

Clear night, thumb-top of a moon, a back-lit sky.
Moon-fingers lay down their same routine
On the side deck and the threshold, the white keys and the black keys.
Bird hush and bird song. A cassia flower falls.

I want to be bruised by God.
I want to be strung up in a strong light and singled out.
I want to be stretched, like music wrung from a dropped seed.
I want to be entered and picked clean.

And the wind says “What?” to me.
And the castor beans, with their little earrings of death, say “What?” to me.
And the stars start out on their cold slide through the dark.
And the gears notch and the engines wheel.

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This poem appeared in Country Music: Selected Early Poems by Charles Wright, published by Wesleyan University Press, 1982. Shared here with profound gratitude.

Read more works by Charles WrightFind books by this poet • Or view my library

Explore poems in pursuit of: questionsthe deep darkwhat is holy • Or browse the index


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Comments (3)

  • ❤❤❤❤

  • Mary Anne Dreger

    Here you go. I do believe the Arrowhead post is an older one. Odd that I couldn’t find any info on T, at least not easily. Well I enjoy her posts even not knowing who she is.

    It will be interesting for you when these heavy feelings bubble up to the surface and you can see where they come from. What fear you have that’s blocking you from knowing. And you have the safety of having Rory there to support you. Such a gift.

    I’m reading the book The untethered Soul, and he writes about getting to the place where we are the conscious, aware of the conscious watching everything in front of us. Hard to live with that idea in the hour to hour day. But so helpful to take the moment to step back.

    Wasn’t that Belgium couple sweet? Our small, lovely world. I shall go out and water a small part of it 😉

    Hugs and love to you, MA

    Sent from my iPad


  • McCarthy Arlene

    What a callous and selfish person to make such a horrible invasion of and theft ( because plagiarism is theft) of your thoughts and feelings. I understand and sympathize with your reaction, your need to withdraw- a normal response to being intellectually and emotionally “mugged. “ but I am so glad you’re back. It’s like reuniting with an old friend to read your words again. Thank you.


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