The Vanishing of Pain and Love in Winter

by Dan Stryk

The sky, on this late afternoon, spreads milky rose,
then fades, above low hills,
to chalky cloud — pale whisper of hydrangea
in late summer.  We’re driving under
metal girders of the bridge over the deep-flowing Ohio
on our yearly visit to aged
parents in the North.  And wordlessly lift eyes
to that dark steel against the sky
                     its massive poles
and finer crossbars.
shapes, as we drive on, like those we’ve — oh so often —
tried to clasp before fleet visions, that might
hold us, disappear!
Only to be left
with dimming colors on the canvas or flat words
upon the page, lingering like mists
of a fled dream,
the keen forms of first vision
now obscured . . .

There is great pain, we’ve come to know,
in failing to see movingly, yet yearning
for such ardor to return — to glow
like a lone comet
before eyes which remain lifted to the skies
through barren years.
And so we learn to live
for that which moves us momentarily
in winter,
even the smeared memory
of what we hoped to seal in vital line, but once more
failed to will into completeness —
once more

rendered vaguely

on the canvas stretched before us,
or the white page that, alone,

will never fade.