So many poems begin where they
should end, and never end.
Mine never end, they run on
book after book, complaining
to the moon that heaven is wrong
or dull, no place at all to be.
I believe all this. I believe
that ducks take wing only
in stories and then to return
the gift of flight to the winds.
If you knew how I came to be
seven years old and how thick
and blond my hair was, falling
about my shoulders like the leaves
of the slender eucalyptus
that now blesses my driveway
and shades my pale blue Falcon,
if you could see me pulling
wagon loads of stones across
the tufted fields and placing
them to build myself and my brother
a humped mound of earth where
flowers might rise as from a grave,
you might understand the last spring
before war turned toward our house
and entered before dawn, a pale
stranger that hovered over each bed
and touched the soft, unguarded faces
leaving bruises so faint
years would pass before they darkened
and finally burned.
—Philip Levine, from “A Poem With No Ending”
Art Credit Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, 2005, Fabric, 45.7 x 55.8 cm / 18 x 22 in