Motet

By Michael Anania b. 1939 Michael Anania
I

“At odds again,”   
hands moving out   
of the shadows.   
And now, now   
everything seems   
definite, discrete,   
fingers webbed   
with sunlight
the tree lets through,   
arms still in their   
own time, circling,   
catch up, catch   
hold at the wrists,   
like cell chains   
in a watchcrystal   
completing themselves.   
Together again.   
Shoulders, torso,   
each one of us one,   
once more. It is   
hard to imagine   
minutes just past.


II

“At odds again,”   
hands moving against   
the wind like loose   
flapping things,   
washcloths, words   
long frayed with   
careless use. You   
wanted to say   
it was beginning   
to bother you,   
beginning to wish,   
wondering if thought   
in broken light   
could ever touch   
itself, reassemble   
itself. The King,   
our promise, broken,   
the sword we imagined   
gone, hovers like   
leafmold in the light.   
Say it, then, the stain   
of things remains.


III

“At odds again,”
elbow cupped into   
wet leaves. After   
love, there are   
moments of clutter,   
and no amount of   
practice will teach   
you to regard them   
as anything more   
than what you lean   
against catching   
its buried chill.
Keep your fancy   
to yourself; facts   
do not fade but are   
momentarily obscured,   
the work of hands,   
touch and its out-
come, the absence   
of touch, and distance,   
the inevitable space   
between, shapes all   
our limitations.


IV

“At odds again,”   
knee raised slightly,   
sunlight and shade,   
patchwork coverlet.   
Bits and pieces,   
the story of each   
thing connected, end   
to end, this instant   
extended in every   
direction. Not a   
thing in space or   
things in spaces or   
spaces between what   
space seems occupied
for this moment, the next.   
We are not snowstorms   
of ourselves, spindrift   
and curl. The whorl   
of action is a template   
in time: the casual   
shifting of leaves,   
hands moving, the certain   
flex of possibility.

Michael Anania, “Motet” from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by Michael Anania. Used by permission of Asphodel Press/Acorn Alliance.

Source: Selected Poems (1994)

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Poet Michael Anania b. 1939

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Living, Love, Nature, Relationships, Time & Brevity, Desire

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Michael  Anania

Biography

In the afterword to his first book, the 1969 New Poetry Anthology, Michael Anania wrote, "There is little evidence that modernism is dead or even dying. The tradition of Pound, Eliot, Williams, Stevens and their contemporaries is very much alive." Anania's importance as a poet lies in how he preserves and develops this modernist tradition in American poetry. A deep commitment to modernism and the tradition of experimental, often . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Love, Nature, Relationships, Time & Brevity, Desire

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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