Li-Young Lee :: of death and more than death

by Eric Daryl Meyer

Two stanzas from a poet who has become, in the years since those wonderful Santa Barbara evenings my friends called “Tuesdays with Ed,” one of my very favorite poets. Thanks indeed, are due to Ed for introducing Li-Young Lee to me. This from a long poem entitled “furious versions”:

But I own a human story,
whose very telling
remarks loss.
The characters survive through the telling,
the teller survives
by his telling; by his voice
brinking silence does he survive.
But, no one
can tell without cease
our human
story, and so we
lose, lose.

Yet, behind the sound
of trees is another
sound. Sometimes, lying
awake, or standing
like this in the yard, I hear it. It
ties our human telling
to its course
by momentum, and ours
is merely part
of its unbroken
stream, the human
and otherwise simultaneously
told. The past
doesn’t fall away, the past
joins the greater
telling, and is.

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