Maybe a canon, like bears, climbing a mountain
the impossible note, the way a string vibrates
at the intersection of bow and memory.
A calliope hummingbird
hovering over a branch of hibiscus
before the green wings lift, dive, flit
into the invisible. The impossible climb, the arpeggio
of a sacred mountain in Nepal
where they don't allow human trekkers.
The color of sky, a single line of pink over silver,
ethereal, flooded with light
before the sun falls into the ocean. Music is impossible,
something buried so deep inside me
it could take a lifetime
for my fingers to learn to match
the cello's toning to what I hear.
The canon, a calla lily unfurling,
a night of peonies, tiny ants
opening trills of blooms. Impossible, but I try it anyway,
the sun blinding, climbing the Himalayas
over the icefall, the shadow of Dhauligiri
tumbling down the river, a cascade of minor notes
so sweet, like a wild mountain bird,
a snow leopard disappearing behind an avalanche.
The roaring pulls you out of your tent,
out of a dream, into the night
where the music, like a snow leopard
is impossible. Years ago, I dreamed a four part canon
all night, the voices like honey,
bears climbing a mountain
lit with early morning sun, the ponderosa pines
singing notes on a pipe organ
in a cathedral of trees,
sunlight pouring through the colors
and shape of a high window. All of the trees in the forest
sang to me that night,
the canon weaving a gentle wind
through the branches. I will never forget the joy
I felt that morning, sun filtering
into a pentagonal room, with
the ocean humming in the distance. Sometimes remembering
is a feeling without a form,
the bears scattered into the forest,
their footprints changing shape,
climbing a mountain of melting snow.
Sometimes the pine trees, like love
like music, like memory
impossible. It is the poem that cannot be written,
the memory of beauty,
the canon, amber light in a cathedral,
the moon rising over a forest of ponderosa pines,
the black bears lost in their winter dreams,
the memory of a trout
leaping over white water,
the river singing, the music, suddenly
at the edge of the possible.
Diane Frank is an award winning poet and novelist. She lives in San Francisco – where she dances, plays cello, and creates her life as an art form. She teaches at San Francisco State University, Dominican University, leads workshops for young writers as a Poet in the School, and directs the Blue Light Press On-line Poetry Workshop. Blackberries in the Dream House, her first novel, won the Chelson Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Swan Light, her new book of poems, was recently published, and her new novel, Yoga of the Impossible, will be published in 2013.