Wise Poets – Paul Kane – Time Was

Still, I must not forget that I once managed to put these things into writing.


Paul Kane (March 23, 1950 -)

When the high-pitched sounds of the August continuo
circulated like breezes through the immovable heat,
time was a single leaf drifting upwards, then down.
In the emptying out, the vacating of routine,
the laboring fullness came to pass, and became,
in passing, what went before and never came again:
the bellflower, blue against the lichened rock,
the sudden oriole in the cherry tree,
the offhand remark indelible in the mind.
In the morning within the morning, in the midnight
within the noon, word echoed within word—
while the mockingbird sang a palindrome of time.
Between the background of the body, and the fore-
shortened space of speech, we lived in the middle distance
where time was, and was not—where we are living still.