What Do I Hear?, by Anton Nemeth

This poem was not created in the Switchboard Connections workshop, but was read during the public reading because of its thematic appropriateness.

What Do I Hear?

Flat blue-gray rosy clouds
Collaged against yon pale sky,
Their deckled edges indistinct
Save for torn gaps so sharply backlit
Where the too-bright sun of ending day
Sneaks, peeks, and flings straight bright piercing rays
Earthward or across the darking sky where awkward
Ebony ravens flap across that silken screen
Ripping hoarse raucous caws against my ears.

I've not passed this way in many years,
Maybe ten, (so long?) or more. It's been
A too long a while, anyway, and yet it
Seems short hours ago I was with you here
Stepping together this path to new horizons
As fresh discoveries set wings to our nimble feet.

Suddenly a stunning silence caught me--
Your heartbeat steady tread beside me—gone!
I turned and searched the brief path behind me
Looking, scanning side to side, awonder of
What secret turn you'd deftly done
Through some softly hidden gentle fog bank
Hanging still in the hollow of the glade.

You'd crossed through some misty veil and left me
Seething in a stew pot of charred absence
Striding unknown ground and lacking your warm presence
Beside mine. It must have been—what?--that closely hidden "Y,"
Where we parted paths and you went some unseen other way.

In this green valley I can't even hear you now--
Though, through fruited leafy branches
The strong warm wind from reaches
Of the far off peaks so, so softly brings
A ringing, singing voice I surely know.....

Anton Nemeth