Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Setting Out, a poem (for Haakon)

I set out in the morning, 
      To ski the Wasatch beneath wind threaded skies,
      Or to go fencing, my blades and gear well packed
      Like the young man who set out to go hawking
      a thousand years ago.

But I am old and tangled in memory,
      I have skied so many times.
      Some of those who skied with me are gone,
      The one who taught me to ski with as much beauty
            as I could find
      Is gone.

So setting out is fraught with the ambivalence of memory.

Maybe it was for the young man, too,
      Who came across the battle of Maldon,
      And so that he could take up arms,
            set his beloved hawk on the wing
      To fly into the dark forest
      Knowing he should never see him again.

Setting out, I remember you
      Your green eyes, knowing, brave, always true
      And I remember that terrible night when I let you go,
      As if releasing you to fly from my wrist,
      Away into memory.

-Thomas Jensen

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