The Hills in Half Light

By Patricia Goedicke 1931–2006 Patricia Goedicke
Or will we be lost forever?

In the silence of the last breath
Not taken

The blue sweep of your arm like a dancer
Clowning, in wrinkled pajamas,

Across the sky the abrupt
Brief zigzag of a jay...

All night the whiteness
And all day.

Once we have been lifted up
Into empty morning like ice

In the darkness of these white fields

Neither the ghost tracks of skis
Nor steel skates will wake us

Where are we looking for each other, separated

On the opposite hillside I see you
Miles away from me, a dot

Of faint color reddening, small bruised warmth
Opening its cranberry mouth and saying,

What are you saying?


Under a cold blanket

An immense loneliness stretches
In every direction with no fences.

A few sticks tweak the crusted snow:

Thin remnants of an army
Of lost soldiers.

I see footsteps ahead of me but whose

And where will they lead me, parallel
Or converging? Is it not possible there will be one jet trail

That will not vanish,

Two phantom ribbons unfolding
That will not feather themselves away?


Wrapped in our white parkas

In what shifting laminations, snowflakes
That mean nothing, transparent eyes spitting,

What glacier will we choose to lie on,
In what igloo rest

Barely breathing, in an air pocket
Just below the surface

Rustling beneath blizzards

Where is your foot, most beautiful
With blue toenails

I will be looking for it always

Wherever it is, next to me
In the darkness

Of rumpled white sheets,
Pale siftings, clouds

Sudden scarves of ourselves gusting
Loose, sandpapery as snow lifting

In what chill citadel of ice crystals
Will I find you?

“The Hills in Half Light” from The Tongues We Speak by Patricia Goedicke, published by Milkweed Editions, 1989. Used by permission of Milkweed Editions.

Source: The Tongues We Speak (Milkweed Editions, 1989)

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Poet Patricia Goedicke 1931–2006

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Nature, Winter, Landscapes & Pastorals, The Body

Poetic Terms Free Verse


Patricia Goedicke's poetry has been described in the Times Literary Supplement by David Kirby as "intensely emotional, intensely physical." "More than any contemporary woman poet, perhaps, she exhibits a Whitmanesque exuberance," claims Small Press Review contributor Hans Ostrom. According to Peter Schjeldahl in the New York Times Book Review, Goedicke "bears down hard on the language, frequently producing exact ambiguities of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Nature, Winter, Landscapes & Pastorals, The Body

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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