ANOTHER RIVER

The friends have gone home far up the valley


of that river into whose estuary


the man from England sailed in his own age


in time to catch sight of the late forests


furring in black the remotest edges


of the majestic water always it


appeared to me that he arrived just as


an evening was beginning and toward the end


of summer when the converging surface


lay as a single vast mirror gazing


upward into the pearl light that was


already stained with the first saffron


of sunset on which the high wavering trails


of migrant birds flowed southward as though there were


no end to them the wind had dropped and the tide


and the current for a moment seemed to hang


still in balance and the creaking and knocking


of wood stopped all at once and the known voices


died away and the smells and rocking


and starvation of the voyage had become


a sleep behind them as they lay becalmed


on the reflection of their Half Moon


while the sky blazed and then the tide lifted them


up the dark passage they had no name for

ECHOING LIGHT

When I was beginning to read I imagined


that bridges had something to do with birds


and with what seemed to be cages but I knew


that they were not cages it must have been autumn


with the dusty light flashing from the streetcar wires


and those orange places on fire in the pictures


and now indeed it is autumn the clear


days not far from the sea with a small wind nosing


over dry grass that yesterday was green


the empty corn standing trembling and a down


of ghost flowers veiling the ignored fields


and everywhere the colors I cannot take


my eyes from all of them red even the wide streams


red it is the season of migrants


flying at night feeling the turning earth


beneath them and I woke in the city hearing


the call notes of the plover then again and


again before I slept and here far downriver


flocking together echoing close to the shore


the longest bridges have opened their slender wings

REMEMBERING

There are threads of old sound heard over and over


phrases of Shakespeare or Mozart the slender


wands of the auroras playing out from them


into dark time the passing of a few


migrants high in the night far from the ancient flocks


far from the rest of the words far from the instruments