Ravine

poetry 0
Gail Mazur

 

Ice Glen, a side trip on our trip to see old friends.
Our plan—a hike, and then there was the thought

of Hawthorne and Melville, a century before,
and their friends, sitting on boulders singing, drinking,

and “telling tales,” calling across a romantic mossed abyss—
I knew their incipient romance had crashed and burned….

Steamy August afternoon, old histories echoing,
the sun above us a reddening flame. Romantic

to have thought of hiking up, then down into the ravine,
the icy chasm someone had called a curious fissure.

Might it be like a bottomless well, I wondered,
we’d each drop a wishing stone into?

We only got close.
What you saw there you saw with your inner eye, a radiance;

what I saw was unfathomable, sunless, frigid

the air that turned us back—too cold for us,
but we were laughing as we fled back to Main Street,

embracing its biographies, and ours, so gaily.

Laughing, that’s how we’d always wanted to love,
with gladness, without reservation—and then we did.

Gail Mazur’s eighth collection, Land’s End, is forthcoming from University of Chicago in 2020. They Can’t Take That Away From Me was a finalist for the National Book Award, and Zeppo’s First Wife won the Massachusetts Book Prize and was finalist for the LA Times Book Award. She is founder of the Blacksmith House Poetry Series, and has taught widely, including as Visiting Professor in Boston University’s MFA Program and in the summer workshops at the Fine Arts Work Center. An early draft of “Ravine” appeared alongside Michael Mazur’s painting in a deCordova Museum bulletin.