April 5, 2016

Three Poems by Jared Carter: “Zhèngzài”, “Oblivion” and “Poems”

Jared Carter grew up in Elwood, Indiana


I pause now, on the mountainside,
         to add these lines
To those inscribed by others. Wide,
         the gulfs of time

Between us, yet the paths we chose
         still brought us here.
Far down the river, early snow
         falls through the sheer

Defiles and cliffs; a flight of birds
         has lost its way.
The rock face where I scratch these words
         is streaked with gray.

Footnote-  “Zhèngzài” means "right now"


Nothing to feel. No steps lead down
         into that stream.
Instead, it rises – not to drown
         a last few dreams

But show that this is not the end.
         It has been there
From the beginning. To ascend
         is to be where

You started. Those were only days
         that came between,
And sun and rain, that could not stay,
         nor intervene.


They are not wisdom pure, but can
         sometimes approach
What we decline to understand –
         how that dark coach

Will come at last, and stop before
         the tavern where
We’ve been the guest. And how the moor
         ahead is bare

And bleak in its simplicity.
         How we must rise
And take the coachman’s hand, and see
         through his disguise.
~Jared Carter

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