Jared Carter – Five Poems



See them revolving, these brothers,
          lofting their kicks,
Rebounding, coming together,
          always more quick

And capricious. Confronted, one
          tumbles away
Yet doubles back; suddenly spun,
          one ricochets,

Then attacks. Gradually they find,
          emblazoned there,
A balancing not in the mind
          but in the air.



But do they matter? Who can say
          if words we leave
Behind will last? Should we betray
          or undeceive

The few still bent on asking why?
          Stonecutters strip
And score a world that has no sky,
          then slowly chip

The dross away. Beneath that rain
          of steady blows
What stays is not what might explain
          but what can show.



They made it up years afterward –
          their boasts about
Bronze shields, and spears of ash, and swords
          that could carve out

A man’s insides. We chanced to meet
          alone, far from
The line of ships. He seemed quite sweet
          without his chums.

We talked awhile, and slowly stripped
          off all our gear.
They left that part out of the script.
          But never fear.



What did you find, hidden away
          in those pages?
Dried leaves, yellowed clippings that say
          it was ages

Ago, this marriage, that death. Now,
          snippets of lace
And ribbon come unglued. Somehow
          the faintest trace

Of color left by a flower
          of red clover
Marks a poem you once spent hours
          brooding over.



In a trance from the beginning,
          then as now – white
Water casting sudden spinning
          whorls of light

Among the rocks, canyon falling
          into shadow,
No clear passage, no one calling
          at your elbow

Knows the channel. With that balance
          still beneath you,
Steer the bow, until the same trance
          shows the way through.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

I give up. I have no idea what beauty is or how it might be defined. But I am intrigued by what St. Augustine said about it: “Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked.”


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.