Long ago, it’s true, I learned to be other than who I am
I thought maybe it would help
Others if not myself, if I spared them
The trivial drama of a wasted poet staggering through time.
I thought I needed to do something else
Before I did what’s true
A kind of ante, a token, a blandishment
Something I thought I had to leave
Before I would be allowed to stay.
But just today I told someone my true name
A woman who leaned in the window and asked
Who are you?
I told her truly, for the first time
Figuring late was better than never
And later, as the autumn sun lit half the mountain
In sharp golden light
And left half in darkness
And I thought, old as I am
I can speak no less or more than a river
That cleaved the space for this wandering road.
Yes, long ago I learned to be other than myself
For reasons now forgotten or cast off
There were those who sought to hear me
But I did not see them
Those who touched me
And I touched them back, and fell away
For the effort required to speak not the truth
Monopolizes the soul, leaving little for the fervent heart
That seeks to know.
The mountain stands, now bald
Half golden and half grey
Saying all, and leaving all unsaid
As the river, still in silence, finds its way.