Grass and Water

The geese have their heaven and I have mine,
though both are made of grass and water and both
have sudden and subtle bridges where the carved stone
changes color under the presumptive arches,
and it is microcosmic and symbolic
so I could be there lying under the stars,
if it is one of the hazy afternoons,
and even mistake the birdlime for the Milky Way
or one drop of water in the sunlight
for one of the late afternoons, though nothing I know
will save them even though their eggs are like steel,
even though their guards are wise; whereas I
still am struggling, I with the soft egg, I
with the infantile presidents. You should see me
explaining things to them, below the bridge
this side of the river, not for one good second
ridiculing them. I still am reading and thinking;
I still am comparing; and I am spending my time
like one or two others in understanding, that is
a type of heaven too, at least for me it is,
holding on to the stabbed uprooted sycamore.


From AMERICAN SONNETS (W.W. Norton, 2002)

 

Poems by Gerald Stern

Behaving Like a Jew

Grapefruit

Grass and Water