Poem: ‘[trance poem with the gray stone]’

Brenda Hillman writes of a partnership that endured the strains of last summer.


In the first six months of the pandemic, I thought often about characterizations of world history, world events, and how poets make accounts during crises. The philosopher Hegel was often in mind, his idea of the world soul. I was also rereading the book of Revelation and thinking about racialized violence at the root of our history. The perceptions of things floating across the various screens and landscapes were often markers. This poem is part of a sequence of 24 poems I worked on to weave a sense of dailiness and eternity, solitude and community.•

This poem appears in the Summer 2021 issue of Alta Journal.

We traveled between dimensions together

mild weather medium depression

white tents at the hospital propped up on stakes
a few desultory carts outside like Europe

number is all wrote Baudelaire

was holding a spry gray stone given to me by A

could hear the crow over the fertile eye of the rat

i said to my companion There

a prank of orange poppies fluttering on the hill
apex of the white moth over a landfill

4 animals of the apocalypse but calmer

number is in the individual wrote Baudelaire

vessels in the road wrote #6 plastic

felt some souls pass by those i had known
some yet to be known Here they said

bees had been coming back
violence had not returned in full force

breath of life inside our spirit

& fog passed by byssoid wooly
each breath  a soul we loved like the art of friends

a soul  a fluttering between worlds

[depending on what you mean by that]

for CDW & FL

Brenda Hillman’s most recent book is Extra Hidden Life, among the Days.
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