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Manoa 13.2 (2001) 112-113

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Three Poems

Linda Gregg

Christ Loved Being Housed

The time of passion is younger than us.
It does not live in memories
or metaphors, but in living things:
quail, bay trees, the sun leaving
and returning. Going and being there.
Dark, rain, and colors spreading
through the late sky afterwards.
So much like the Apache and Tarahumara
who live differently now, as I do.
But I want to ask you about the nature
of love. Do you think it is unearthly?
I want to tell you it is, and more.
Christ did not want to leave the body.
Love resides entirely in the part of us
that is the least defended or safe.
In the part that has no alternative
to loss, defeat, and dying. Our tragedy
of being. All else is tested by its flint
in what it strikes upon in darkness. [End Page 112]

Clear Sky Goes Up Farther Than What Can Be Seen

The soul could be a stone,
the writhing of a snake
wrapping its body around a hawk.
A talon imbedded in the open jaw
is without feeling, but has
everything to do with life.
Sky does not speak. Night knows
nothing of sight. Rain does not
know it grows the grain.
Stone does not know it wears out.

It Goes Away

I give everything away and it goes away,
into the dusty air,
onto the face of the water
that goes away beyond our seeing.
I give everything away
that has been given to me:
the voices of children under clouds,
the men in the parks at the chess tables,
the women entering and leaving bakeries.
God who came here by rock, by tree, by bird.
All things silent in my seeing.
All things believable in their leaving.
Everything I have I give away
and it goes away.


Linda Gregg is the author of Things and Flesh, her fifth book of poems. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, and Atlantic Monthly, and she has been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship, Whiting Writer's Award, and National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. Born in Marin County, California, she now lives in New York City.



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