Half Omen Half Hope

By Joanna Klink Joanna Klink
When everything finally has been wrecked and further shipwrecked,
When their most ardent dream has been made hollow and unrecognizable,
They will feel inside their limbs the missing shade of blue that lingers
Against hills in the cooler hours before dark, and the moss at the foot of the forest
When green starts to leave it. What they take into their privacy (half of his embrace,
Her violence at play) are shadows of acts which have no farewells in them.
Moons unearth them. And when, in their separate dwellings, their bodies
Feel the next season come, they no longer have anyone to whom
To tell it. Clouds of reverie pass outside the window and a strange emptiness
Peers back in. If they love, it is solely to be adored, it is to scatter and gather
Themselves like hard seeds in a field made fallow by a fire someone years ago set.
In the quiet woods, from the highest trees, there is always something
Weightless falling; and he, who must realize that certain losses are irreparable,
Tells himself at night, before the darkest mirror, that vision keeps him whole.

On the verge of warm and simple sleep they tell themselves certain loves
Are like sheets of dark water, or ice forests, or husks of ships. To stop a thing
Such as this would be to halve a sound that travels out from a silent person’s
Thoughts. The imprint they make on each other’s bodies is worth any pain
They may have caused. Quiet falls around them. And when she reaches
For him the air greens like underwater light and the well-waters drop.
They will see again the shadows of insects.
They will touch the bark and feel each age of the tree fly undisturbed
Into them. If what is no longer present in them cannot be restored,
It can at least be offered. Through long bewildered dusks, stalks grow;
Rains fill and pass out of clouds; animals hover at the edges of fields
With eyes like black pools. For nothing cannot be transformed;
Pleasure and failure feed each other daily. Do not think any breeze,
Any grain of light, shall be withheld. All the stars will sail out for them.

Joanna Klink, “Half Omen Half Hope” from Raptus. Copyright © 2010 by Joanna Klink. Reprinted by permission of Penguin, a division of Penguin Group (USA), LLC.

Source: Raptus (Penguin Books, )

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Poet Joanna Klink

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Living, Disappointment & Failure, Time & Brevity, Love, Heartache & Loss, Realistic & Complicated, Relationships, Men & Women, Nature

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Joanna  Klink

Biography

Joanna Klink earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a PhD from the Johns Hopkins University. Her collections of poetry include They Are Sleeping (2000), Circadian (2007), and Raptus (2010). Her work has been included in numerous anthologies, including The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry (2011). Of her work, Klink has said: “In poems I am trying to find my bearings through a world that at times feels . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, Time & Brevity, Love, Heartache & Loss, Realistic & Complicated, Relationships, Men & Women, Nature

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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