This morning the Library of Congress named Charles Wright, 78, as the new U.S. Poet Laureate. Wright was first published in The New Republic in 1989; the poem below ran in the April 7 issue of the magazine.
Canadian thunder five miles away, a slate blue
Montana sky just under the overlap of cloud.
Us again. Not a good thing.
Squelched night squints under the forest floor.
And in our bodies, other bodies ready to rise.
Still, what a sweet wind,
what a sweet northwesterly wind.
Then jump-cut again from so many years ago.
Storm’s on us, first hail and rain,
then hail again like a bunch of moth balls.
Or hard tears of the Christian martyrs,
Halfway between us and the place they cannot get to.
Pity on them. Pity on us and our judgmental summer shower.
Pity on all the risen and the unrisen.
Pity on life and the dirt.