V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




        Aubade by Grant McLennan (1958-2006)

At dawn the third
dimension gradually returns,
a scent like salt
in the wind.  The ocean
is a sound at the edge
of sleep, easily mistaken
for leaves gathering in
the courtyard corners,
and the leading edge
of light slips loose of
palm trees and jacaranda,
rattles like dice on the terra-
cotta tiles.  At dawn I see
you best from the doorway,
your hair a nest in the gray air,
face closing already
as you draw the curtains
and return to bed.
I have friends who can list
the different herbs they smell
in a sauce, can grade
the sedimented soil in a sip
of wine, the vineyard’s
long story of loam. 
At dawn, colors begin
their slow return,
give weight to wind
and peel shadows into
shavings of night.
I will return is the promise
dawn completes, return
the word kept.  The light
is full of water, water heavy
with reflected light.
The scar beside your eye
ripples as you sleep
like a narrow puddle brushed
by a breeze.  At dawn, night
and day nearly blend, nearly
erase all differences, a way of
celebrating gray and
the end of gray, of saying
here and now are enough.
But here and now are made
entirely of two things,
hope and loss, though at dawn
they seem to touch.

© by James Harms


Contributor's note
Next page
Table of contents
VPR home page

[Best read with browser font preferences set at 12 pt. Times New Roman]