Saturday, February 9, 2008

A New Poem That Relates to Coaching

The possibility exists

that your fear is well founded. Once
I woke up well before dawn and the moon

was so silver I was afraid I was dead there in the tent
where there were no boundaries and no wind. Still
drunk in sleep and lost in that blast of pale light

I thought I could teach ways to see this fear
as if there is any other thing to see,
a bird not wholly occupied by the flight

of the beautifully hungry: beating wings or carcass
by the side of the road. A youngster running
collapses dead in the gym, another with too much

of her own combination of anesthesia
is found without shoes as pale as the snow
where she has taken a permanent sleep. So

yes, there are reasons to be afraid. I’ve seen the shots
of legless men back from the endless wars
no one can win. I’ve sat in the vertiginous room

in the acrid fog of loss and tried to make good
the terror in a woman’s eyes when she cannot shake
the winter kudzu from her brain

and none of the drugs help, not with this terror,
and all we can do is give her a safe room
and a sofa to sit with her thin legs

folded under like a bird in winter. Even you and I
who appear to walk through our dreams unfettered
have our own ministries of fear, unrequited, a crater

in the road we’ve accustomed ourselves to
approach in low, steer around if we can, or rock through
like a boat, slow. I have no secrets, I am afraid as well.

There will always be that night, locked
in some oblivion of love or drink, even the forgetfulness
of genuine happiness or grief, when the car will bang

and the tire will smash and everything will stop
and the night will let loose a quiet so calm
even the few small flakes that fall

thunder through the inestimable dark
where something must happen and does
only because, for a while, we don’t know what to do.

The possibility exists,
just then, that we will find someone
coming toward us crunching home through the dark,

someone we have never noticed because in this world
every stranger is enemy, every face an emblem of the fear
the endless broadcasts tell us it is crucial to feel. Gradually

but quicker than we have been taught
the dark becomes ink then, a place to be together in.
How do I know this is true? In what other light

or potential for warmth or reason,
or what other story can we find to live?
Even if, then, we must find our own way home, alone.

--- Bob Vance.

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