“Audience” For Carole Chambers

This poem was written by the audience at HIAC’s final outdoor performance series
Poetry Under The Stars. It was written serendipitously, imbued with the magic of that summer night.

In this Hornby place the poet’s words belong to
the fiery place between the ocean and sky.
In this green comfortable forest the wind cannot
speak its name
And when the trees here do speak they say
‘We are swimming in the air’.

If the poem is to stay with us after tonight
it must gather the stars around our shoulders
and then these words will belong to us
just as the young cedar will one day own this forest.

In this falling dusk an old Douglas fir makes
peace with the ancient whispers and
the sky is webbed to the tree tops as words ascend
with delicate sensitivity to the waiting clouds.

As she once read her words we waited for
the compass to point towards compassion.
Near me I can hear people breathing like
the soft sway of the tall spruce.

Who can answer this question that rests against the
sandstone slab, buoyant like the rising moon?
Because poetry cannot become
a rule or a formula for a life well-lived
because poetry is always on the way to the end of a line.

It is a gift and a warning that says take your life and run
like someone has left the barn door ajar
because a terrible beauty remains when the poem ends
as if in that vanished moment all things were possible
all worlds open.

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