Issue 5 – Chamberlin

Bruce Allen Chamberlin

I Pause

I pause in the stillness

of this house where
I live alone without
the company of a woman.
The silence is like a blanket,
a very thin blanket you pull
around you on an early summer
night when it is still cool

and you need something
light and warm
around you.

I pause in what some might call
loneliness—this place where the hermit
kneels in his little hut,
hands clasped before his God,
his heart thirsting, his throat
parched, his eyes looking inward
for a sign.

I pause before these words,
wondering what will come, if
any will come, and what
they might even mean?

I pause before the mirror
and this body that I used to check
for signs of sag and wear—
it’s not that I don’t care now,
but only know that it’s no use
to try to slow this march
to the end of matter.

I pause before the spirit self,
the one who speaks with wise
and gentle words when I am
settled enough to listen.
And, even then, sometimes
I miss them.

But then, I pause again
and again, more often now
to listen in between the things
we fill our waning days with.
It’s almost like on a summer night—
the moment just before
or right after—the whippoorwill sings
his bright and perfect song.