John J. Mundt


Now that we have not yet smiled having come upon it
the lone heron launches west as we loom our approach
into the wet rushes where once had been wide water
after the wind and the quiet of the animals
after your simple plan and the standing
sickroom stillness the swamp makes
after the energy of inertia, the end of indecision
the choice we cast, the privilege of your persuasion
and the final smile, after the steep incline, earth now dry
and cold as shock, after the homeless coming, after the fear
that will always be rising—after you, what is left except
the warning of all seasons: you cannot be touched like weather.




When the past is a lost country, we do not expect anything to happen. This is the central sound and feeling of Left Behind—that is, to not want (tor a least a moment in time) to be anything or anywhere else.  Perhaps that is what it is like to become, as Willa Cather wrote, part of something complete and entire, to be disolved into something good and great even sadness.  Perhaps it is a touch from the grace called wisdom.  Perhaps it is what brings joy from sorrow: that who we "knew" we will always know.  Perhaps out of that realization springs an internal light that the the narrowest shadow will not dare to sever.