Holding the emptiness softly ~ Robin Chapman


That shower of snow in the lodgepoles
is the raven moving his perch; somewhere
the writer swims her laps in the pool
waiting for plot to catch up to her, the artist
follows her terrier’s morning walk to learn
of the passing deer and elk, the jazz composer
sets out to run the trail to the mountain top.

At breakfast the eight-month-old who cried
all night is delighted by the faces of strangers,
his mother close by and sleepless, missing
her former life; and the long distance runner,
back from the mountain, hears the cycle
of fifths turning its great wheel, like the sun
passing over us all.
In the stranded boat
the writer steers into a windy neighborhood,
the stranded islander invents a bookshop
for insomniacs, the new music composer tracks
her fugitive dreams, the science fiction writer
invents a funnier future than the one we face;
the walker considers the heart of her dog,
composes a concert for us all; and the poet
is weeping over the loss of her cats and dogs
long ago. Out of the emptiness of the valley’s
begging bowl, something will emerge.