August 1, 2016

Four Poems by Jared Carter: "Reply," "Tradition," "Kafka," and "Deposition"

Jared Carter grew up in Elwood, Indiana
"Michelangelo's The Deposition" Photo by Jared Carter


  for C. B. Anderson

Seeking to understand what you
          have written, I
Am drawn to days in which the blue
          of that pale sky

Pays sevenfold to those who look
          back through the glass
Of falling rain. Yet in the book
          of what is past

And what will come, no rainbow holds
          its colors long;
No evening keeps its scattered gold,
          no bird its song.


At length the stanzas that remain
          will be obscured
By darkness, and by days of rain.
          Whatever stirred

Emotion once – was it true love
          or heart’s despair? –
Still prompted lines remindful of
          her windswept hair.

Reflection is mere ebb and flow
          upon the stream,
Yet poetry would have us know
          that passing gleam.


Right at the end he could not speak
          but wrote brief notes –
Hello, goodbye, the tea is weak,
          a favorite quote

Imperfectly remembered from
          a time before.
The others who were there would come
          and go; a door

Led off somewhere. Flowers became
           what mattered most –
 The way each blue or yellow flame
           harbored its ghost.


Nicodemus cannot gather
          Christ in this way,
Nor can he let Him go. Rather,
          it is the play

Of light that holds them both – scattered,
          diffuse, severe.
Out of such remnants – rough, battered
          and cast down, sere

With age, hooded – the piercing glance
          into stone. Stare,
And be taken into that trance
          undying there.

~Jared Carter


  1. "Kafka" grabbed my attention and led me to this page.
    I'm a fan of Kafka, and visited his home in Prague in the Old City several summers - the Golden Lane, is where I found it.
    But, I love his work - I never want the stories to come to the last page - I hold on, hoping to stay there.
    You captured his spirit so well in this poem. Thank you for taking me down memory lane this afternoon, Kafka, me, and you!

  2. I appreciate the economy and the discipline in these poems, conveying more in twelve lines than lesser poets can manage in much longer excursions.

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