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Daniel James Sundahl



Praise the world to the Angel, not what's unsayable.

You can't impress him with lofty emotions; in the cosmos

that shapes his feelings;  you're a mere novice.  Therefore show him

some simple object, formed from generation to generation

until it's truly our own.


--Rilke, from "The Ninth Elegy"


Looking westward through the porch screen,

White light from the full moon shivers

On snow crust, on a glaze over fields.

The silvered-seconds, the whited minutes,

The wind-chimes euphony, the wavy-warped drifts,

The attempt to capture that luring call in the rising moon

Only to be jostled back beyond repeal....




Maybe it is simply like tipping the head back,

Eyes rising, tracing the pale-pearl flush over head,

Untouched, skeletal, almost fibrous in its network

Across the sky of dark-blue drape, a mysterious beauty

That promises what with grace we must become:

Marginal angels, immortal transients, fresh tracing

Of that lost beginning grafted to the sweetest words.

Easter Morning, Luna Pier,
Two Men Fishing In A Boat


And over them a gray calm,

Fog folded fatly over the water,

A hundred yards or so of visibility.

Their bait stalks along the bottom,

Gracefully misbegotten.


Strange how the mind

On a morning like this

Looks for tone and terminology,

A sad attempt to understand God’s

Timelessness giving forth Time.


Someone at the pier’s edge faces east,

Listening to the water

Slopping the stones below;

An alien conscience or another

Phantom of loss and gain.


On the boat, a match spurts;

A finger held too near the flame

Brings that old curse of pain

Cleaving the fog-bound air,

Patience hardened to a pittance.


In the hover of a white bird,

The light begins to shape and feather.

A respite from fear some poet might think.

But the wait’s begun again, the water

Rounding the stones in penitence.

Prime Mover

Years pass, and I remember still

A girl with one leg draped over a balcony rail.

I think of how it has been;

I think of how it will go on:


Steadfast evening skies,

Spacious the first evening star

Riding radiant and pure,

The flame points alternating,


A part of infinitesimal Time

Taking the shape of all I know:

A voicelessness, a leg draped, a name mouthed,

An old woman sweeping her stretch of sidewalk . . . .

easter morning
prime mover
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