June 12, 2015KR OnlinePoetry

Shadows

From The Kenyon Review, New Series, Fall 1986, Vol. VIII, No. 4

Ash-white mists of mornings
will soon turn dark against the heat.
Peace. The earth-odor is a burden
which one cannot lay down
because there is no one to pick it up again.
This longing for darkness,
resenting its need that holds,
like a frightened hare seeking the refuge of the woods.
Yet the beating of the heart
makes one impatient, one becomes
a little child who is hurt not only by a word,
but even by a short pause of indecision.
Shadows soon will reach over
and stroke the skin under the eyes.
And opportunities are hampered by the hour,
by fate. Warm dust rises. Even in sleep
to recognize defeat, to let the arms
do their useless tasks they have been doing,
to refuse to lie to one’s heart and call it peace.

Author of sixteen collections of poetry, Jayanta Mahapatra’s latest volume is titled Bare Face. He has read his poetry around the world and is widely anthologized. He edits the literary periodical Chandrabhaga. His recent work has appeared in the Sewanee Review.