Readings in Contemporary Poetry

Peter Sacks


That day the west 
burned like a sheet of ice crazed
by the tree’s black hammerblow.

Dark arteries, 
there’s nothing stronger
than my own surviving hunger.

But the sky said 
Break now or be broken.


Blue star.  And the star
fell westward drawing
the last daylight from
the field’s edge.

My own translation took me deeper, 
star of both hemispheres. 
Past the low stone wall of the horizon,
owl-dark and the bloodbeat of its wing,

I could hear everything,
For you must break a grief
to mend it.  The body’s 
work song and the heavy spade

divided light and shade
from what is neither light nor shade; 
and life flocked forward,
hungering and feeding at the verge.

© 1997