'Now I Understand'

Book cover i i
Book cover

Passion and strife come together in this selection from In the Middle Distance, a collection from New York-based poet Linda Gregg.

To mark National Poetry Month, NPR.org is featuring a series of newly published works selected by the Academy of American Poets. Learn more about this and other titles at the academy's New Spring Books list.

Now I Understand

Linda Gregg

Something was pouring out. Filling the field

and making it vacant. A wind blowing them

sideways as they moved forward. The crying

as before. Suddenly I understood why they left

the empty bowls on the table, in the empty hut

overlooking the sea. And knew the meaning

of the heron breaking branches, spreading

his wings in order to rise up out of the dark

woods into the night sky. I understood about

the lovers and the river in January.

Heard the crying out as a battlement,

of greatness, and then the dying began.

The height of passion. Saw the breaking

of the moon and the shattering of the sun.

Believed in the miracle because of the half heard

and the other half seen. How they ranged

and how they fed. Let loose their cries.

One could call it the agony in the garden,

or the paradise, depending on whether

the joy was at the beginning, or after.

"Now I Understand," copyright 2006 by Linda Gregg. Reprinted from In the Middle Distance with the permission of Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minn.

Books Featured In This Story

In the Middle Distance
In the Middle Distance

Poems

by Linda Gregg

Paperback, 66 pages | purchase

close

Purchase Featured Books

  • In the Middle Distance
  • Poems
  • Linda Gregg

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: