i.m. Mark Strand
It wasn’t until the next day, the morning after, when I read the reported loss of Mark Strand. I maintain much respect for him, without ever having met him in person. Several years ago I mailed him a poem I had written in response to one of his, “The Night, The Porch.” And he was kind enough to write a short note in return. His work will go on.
The Night, The Porch
To stare at nothing is to learn by heart
What all of us will be swept into, and baring oneself
To the wind is feeling the ungraspable somewhere close by.
Trees can sway or be still. Day or night can be what they wish.
What we desire, more than a season or weather, is the comfort
Of being strangers, at least to ourselves. This is the crux
Of the matter, which is why even now we seem to be waiting
For something whose appearance would be its vanishing—
The sound, say, of a few leaves falling, or just one leaf,
Or less. There is no end to what we can learn. The book out there
Tells us as much, and was never written with us in mind.