Jared Carter – Five Poems




Let us not dwell on such things now,
          the old wolf said.
Their coming made it clear somehow
          we would be dead;

Not one of us survived. We had 
          gone up into
The farther range; they were still mad
          to kill. I knew

Your father once, who tended sheep;
          I came to fear
His small campfires. He sought to keep
          the darkness near.




No, not in that old house, there were
          no spirits there,
But some days, down long corridors
          that led to where

The sunlight reached – at times it seemed
          the pocket doors
Were burnished by the random gleam
          of hardwood floors,

And light that fell from leaded panes
          above the stairs
Showed places where the picture-frames
          had left faint squares.




Now you begin to speak, in ways
          that had been lost
Until this moment, when the play
          of light across

The paneled room transposes. Gold
          leaf hammered blue
Becomes translucent, and the old
          ways tunnel through.

Not purpose, not the trumpet’s call
          dispelling doubt;
Simply the past made more, made all
          by reaching out.




Sometimes a single word is all
          you have. Begin
With that. The stained glass in the hall
          will still let in

Some light, and singularity
          is but a step
Or two away. Ascend, and be
          aware, accept

All redirection, seek to learn
          what waits within
The simplest divagation. Turn,
          and turn again.




He was the king. So what was I
          to do? Turn him
Away? Plead innocent? Or sigh
          that in those grim

And chthonic depths, I had no power?
          It comes to you
Regardless of the place, or hour,
          and to be true

Is all you have. When Samuel came
          up through the ground,
Saul knew that he was lost, defamed.
          But I was found.

Author’s Statement on Beauty

“There is no excellent beauty,” according to Francis Bacon, “that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.” Much later, Harold Bloom has suggested that great poetry is inherently strange.

It is left to each of us to determine what strangeness might be in a work of art. I particularly admire the strange beauty in the work of artists on the order of Louis Kahn, Louise Nevelson, and Max Beckmann.


Jared Carter’s sixth collection, Darkened Rooms of Summer: New and Selected Poems, was published in 2014 by the University of Nebraska Press. He lives in Indiana. More at: www.the-growler.com.