A little light was left,
enough for the ghost deer.
We stood by the fallow
corn field, she and I,
listening until they appeared,
blinking, two, four, then seven
or eight, then fewer, finally just
the color of evening, muted, stretched.
Now it’s late afternoon, two hidden birds
screech across the head high corn.
I stand where we stood.
The finches drag yellow over the
soft open thistles at the back of the field.
I mosey through an alley of green thinking
of Cary Grant in North by Northwest. In the
thistles, I kneel, listening to the woodpeckers.
The ghost deer are still here.
Maybe we were asleep that cool night
Maybe we dreamed of the ghost deer.
But I remember them now as
I experienced them then.
As a memory, that quiet, moving out into
our presence– As if I recognized them then
the way I still see them now.
A Wind Disorder
My back is pressing against a
stone wall, low and crusted like
bread. Occasionally I rise up,
my hair moves about, I smell horses
off in the distance. They will ride
through me long before I will
ever mount them. But now I look
again. The tall grass is moving.
There were no horses, only this
pale wavering, the wind. There is
no saddle for the wind; if anything,
I am that saddle, gritting my
leathery teeth. I wait here for
the shifting weight of a rider:
as light as the weather, cotton,
as heavy as a thought seems, wool.
There I am now, moving across
the lumpy pasture, the wall
the light, noticeably clearer.
How did it get there I wondered.
Chipped and chiseled away by
a quiet voice, a great whisper
directed into its ear until this
weather had formed a niche,
now anonymously protecting
from the cold, the heat, the
rain, sleet and snow.
But each impression beckons,
even allows for the penetration
of light, of sound, and smells.
The mountain is alive this way,
alive like the sky is alive,
a vast, vast watching,
alive like a cyclone is alive,
turning, such a great turning,
alive like this lake is alive,
a great, great bowl of wondering,
alive like only that voice whispering
into the mountain’s ears, traveling
deep into its burning blackness
carrying words too large to speak,
words with the weight of a small butte,
words that fit comfortably in a canyon.
words that cannot wait for a season.
It’s not like setting up a tripod, or
seeing windows in trees.
I haven’t lost anything and
discovery came back there
on the beach where I slid in
with a soft silt slice.
There may be clouds about, weather afoot,
but I never looked over my shoulder or
even sidelong, as a matter of fact.
I know this is not a confession,
or a questionnaire,
but it is like you are a letter
I can’t quite get out of the envelope.
And I can see by the folds in the note
it is an origami bird,
a parrot, I believe.
And the message is just the motion,
the head moving forward
as I pull the tail.
Forgetting the World
These are the days when
I could be doing anything,
but I am doing this now:
standing on the gray deck,
arms raised, pulling in signals
from the world. Everything is
bringing from the future. And
receiving the future takes work.
It could be in the mailbox or my
ear. The nuthatch at my door,
just blue and shadow. The wind
coming across, something is waving.
It says, “Sustain this.” I can’t. It
lands on faded prayer flags tacked
to the rail. Dropping my arms I think
about these things, and for this moment
and the next, I forget the world.
Ron Hardy continues to live and work in northern Ohio, south of a Great Lake. His children no longer require triangulation to locate. They are under foot again. A singular poem of his appeared in Right Hand Pointing. As you can tell from his picture, he has a sense of humor. You can read more of Ron Hardy’s poems at his blog, fruitflyby.