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Louisa Oriel, 1960-2000 by Neil Fleming

Louisa Oriel, 1960-2000

I am, or have been recently, considering the gap between
What we intend and what we mostly reach,
Between the gunwale and the unlit pier,
Between the rifle and the deer.

There are furlongs of light in this wood, all green,
All striking for the afternoon’s dark heart, and each
A promise of destination, which at most
Turns out to be an end of trees, and a white post.

Distance acknowledged is invisible, like the air
Assumed by swallows between here and Spain,
Only in stormlight apprehended:
Only what’s broken can be mended.

Everything, I thought, was built this way, and there
You came, not subject to the laws of rain,
(Do you get wetter if you run,
Or if you walk?) steepled in sun.

It took me time to learn these other rules – your rules,
Where reaching for and reaching are the same,
Where understanding is identical to sight,
Rainfall and dewfall, incidents of light.

It seems you never were aboard this train of fools,
Expecting they will know their station, without knowledge of its name,
While I imagine you already at home, at ease,
In a white house, on a small hill, set about with cedar trees.
Copyright © 2004, Neil Fleming

Louisa Oriel, 1960-2000

I am, or have been recently, considering the gap between
What we intend and what we mostly reach,
Between the gunwale and the unlit pier,
Between the rifle and the deer.

There are furlongs of light in this wood, all green,
All striking for the afternoon’s dark heart, and each
A promise of destination, which at most
Turns out to be an end of trees, and a white post.

Distance acknowledged is invisible, like the air
Assumed by swallows between here and Spain,
Only in stormlight apprehended:
Only what’s broken can be mended.

Everything, I thought, was built this way, and there
You came, not subject to the laws of rain,
(Do you get wetter if you run,
Or if you walk?) steepled in sun.

It took me time to learn these other rules – your rules,
Where reaching for and reaching are the same,
Where understanding is identical to sight,
Rainfall and dewfall, incidents of light.

It seems you never were aboard this train of fools,
Expecting they will know their station, without knowledge of its name,
While I imagine you already at home, at ease,
In a white house, on a small hill, set about with cedar trees.
Copyright © 2004, Neil Fleming

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