“What We Must Preserve”

(This poem of mine first appeared in the last issue of Verse Wisconsin, Issue 113, in April 2014.)

 

Giuseppe Maria Crespi - Buchregal mit Musikschriften 1725-30
Giuseppe Maria Crespi – Buchregal mit Musikschriften 1725-30 (Giuseppe Crespi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

 

What We Must Preserve

by John Kaufman

 

To hear each other, what
we must preserve
is the dignity of trees,
obstinacy of rock,

the patient way a book
occupies space, its voice
less than a whisper,
its light as dim or bright

as the sky. And like
the sky and trees and rocks
the way the book belongs
right where it is and

holds you there even
when it speaks openly
of somewhere else– the quiet
of all those voices

leaning so calmly together
on the shelf.

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