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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 3, September 2017

Mary Frederick Ahearn
Pottstown, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

A Life or More to Dream

And if life is so various, so shifting, what could we possibly say of death, that black leaf, that has any believable finality?

                                                                                —Mary Oliver

Now and then we discuss it, the so called after-life. Where will we go? Is there nothing, everything, heaven or hell? The "what now" question. We consider other lives, others' lives. Lives that might be ours for the dreaming.

Neruda's muse, Neruda himself. Did we lean across a small cafe table in Paris, wearing a gray beret, hearing the poems read softly with small pauses? A romantic can do this, especially on long winter nights when the sky's indigo and the stars are sharp and the mind wanders free. A poem can start you traveling. Words for another, now for you.

Maybe a maiko with newly calloused fingers from long hours of practicing the samisen while the maples turn to fire and crickets sing. The floating world of another time and place.

Other times we're the ones in the ghettos waiting for the door to be knocked down. Afraid of the boots and uniforms. We are the different ones, the chased. Underground tunnels leading to nowhere and screams.

Dreams, nightmares, hauntings, these other lives.

last rites
burning the incense
once hoarded

All these lives, gone, coming, in transit. Real, imagined, and something in between. Dreams, nightmare, and hauntings and finally back to "what now?"

always that same road
traveled over and over—
outrunning the night

Note: The epigraph is from Mary Oliver, Winter Hours, "The Boat - 2", page 78.



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