Murky Poetry

Raven at the river’s edge
calls imperiously.
She takes the rich; so, too, the poor,
but she’ll not be having me.

Empty-handed naked souls
from all life’s trials free.
To her they come in humble throng,
but she’ll not be having me.

Hoary heads and blooming cheeks,
they bow obediently.
She sends them all to the murky deep,
but she’ll not be having me.

Till worn with care I heed her call
where river joins the sea.
Tis there I’ll lay down pain and fear.
There she’ll be having me.
But unbent will I join the dead.
Only then she’ll be having me.

and solitary we are
	immutably singular and silent
	as the armored ones of the sea
we, too, nurse our dreams and desires
	while they coalesce into being
	beautiful and pure and pearl
but none the less cold

yea, though from nativity to the grave
	we long for naught but union
	unity comes never
vague echoes we hear
	muted cries in our dark waters
	wistful sighs purling in the deep
of no more are we certain

this argent soul begs for deliverance
	immured in a calcareous tomb
	ensnared in solitude
but nothing awaits

in exclusion we live
lonesome we die

for solitary we are destined to be
	blind and beautiful pearls
	without the balm of one
and all is watery darkness
	that is not this pearl

these few hours
between harvest moon and hunter’s
as day hastens into night on autumn gales
hours for totting up: goods, children, memories
these hours, suddenly spent
these hours, filling the granary, pressing the vine
from moon to moon, and then, no more
and then, bare winter contemplation
we give thanks for these hours
of gales and gathering
of candlelight and cold
hours permeated with apple, pumpkin, pear
and spice opulent as autumn’s palette
we give thanks, perhaps perfunctorily
in the mad rush of these hours
these few hours, life distilled, life’s quintessence
yes, these hours from harvest to hunter
yes, gather what you may in these hours
but never squander
these few hours

©Elizabeth Anker 2021