Pause for a Poem

Let's take a pause today for a poem. I've been focusing on compassion and gratitude lately (although I've certainly lacked both today) and this poem speaks to both of those.

Letter to Kathy from Wisdom
Richard Hugo

My dearest Kathy: When I heard your tears and those of your
mother over the phone from Moore, from the farm
I’ve never seen and see again and again under the most
uncaring of skies, I thought of this town I’m writing from,
where we came lovers years ago to fish. How odd
we seemed to them there, a lovely young girl and a fat
middle 40’s man they mistook for father and daughter
before the sucker lights in their eyes flashed on. That was
when we kissed their petty scorn to dust. Now, I eat alone
in the cafe we ate in then, thinking of your demons, the sad
days you’ve seen, the hospitals, doctors, the agonizing
breakdowns that left you ashamed. All my other letter
poems I’ve sent to poets. But you, you were a poet then,
curving lines I love against my groin. Oh, my tenderest
raccoon, odd animal from nowhere scratching for a home,
please believe I want to plant whatever poem will grow
inside you like a decent life. And when the wheat you’ve known
forever sours in the wrong wind and you smell it
dying in those acres where you played, please know
old towns we loved in matter, lovers matter, playmates, toys,
and we take from our lives those days when everything moved,
tree, cloud, water, sun, blue between two clouds, and moon,
days that danced, vibrating days, chance poem. I want one
who’s wondrous and kind to you. I want him sensitive
to wheat and how wheat bends in cloud shade without wind.
Kathy, this is the worst time of day, nearing five, gloom
ubiquitous as harm, work shifts changing. And our lives
are on the line. Until we die our lives are on the mend.
I’ll drive home when I finish this, over the pass that’s closed
to all but a few, that to us was always open, good days
years ago when our bodies were in motion and the road rolled out
below us like our days. Call me again when the tears build
big inside you, because you were my lover and you matter,
because I send this letter with my hope, my warm love. Dick.

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