Jody Bolz


Details from a Pair of Sixfold Screens
after viewing Sotatsu, Freer Gallery


I'll walk with you,
and we'll remember ourselves
with familiar grace,
leaning to say--

The dark temple stairs
insist on patience.
Pines grow clearer
as we climb.

I won't want to see
the point from which you sail,
but everywhere
high bridges urge a view.

These are the panels of the screen:
among clouds of leafed gold,
a harbor is revealed,
a braided fence,

porch close to the shore--
and just beyond,
almost without consequence or color,
two figures at the gate.


Drawn by the world,
a man may end
with no one landscape in his heart

(the path to the summer-house
skirted six willows),

so in spite of liking many things,
he ends with less
than something he can love.


Tell me what keeps you--
what weeks of bridges,
backs arched to the breeze,
what falcons, maples, waterwheels.

When I wake I want to know
is the sky there
bright as figured silk,
herons in the mist?

Have you courted clouds
and sun sprays,
day widening with boats?

I've passed the seasons
in a green chamber,
kept company with cloth and cups,

but winter sets her heart on me--
braving the palace walls,
the queen's gate, the courtyard.

Now I send for you.
I ask you to come home.

Jody Bolz is the author of A Lesson in Narrative Time (Gihon Books, 2004). Her poems have appeared in The American Scholar, Indiana Review, Moment, and Ploughshares. She edits Poet Lore, America's oldest poetry magazine, founded in 1889.


Published in Volume 10, Number 1, Winter 2009.


Read more by this author:
Jody Bolz
Jody Bolz: Wartime Issue