Bend in the River 3-24-10, Mark Nielsen
Second time today.
Are you following me–
You hunter of these quiet woods–
or am I following you?
As you fly off again
On another reconnaissance mission,
I thank the noisy downy woodpecker
Who alerted me to your presence, your much-welcomed attentions.
We two have wooed each other all year,
Under the watchful eye of these gray heavens.
But I fear there is to be no wedding,
Nor any final confrontation,
For each of us is meant for finer things.
So for now, here,
This silent sacred dance,
This forty second glance,
At the bend of the river
Just past the fence,
Is more than enough.
Our love —
this seeing into each other,
As the new grass greens up
And the swollen river recedes
To a safer level–
Occupies a permanent diplomatic importance
In the history of our two families.
This is no wedding in need of witnesses
(Like chirping chickadees, rotting raccoon, curious canine).
No, these friends are here as witnesses
To the silent signing of a treaty:
that the glory within and the Glory Beyond
Shall not perish or go unnoticed.
I kneel before you,
Watchman over the muddy, lightly trodden
path of glory,
Path to this wild garden of grace
Beside the still waters.