Rivers rise in unmade beds,
Stretching as they roll through hills,
Where something in them finally heads
Through glaciers, rocks, and daffodils
To pools where their simple motion
Pauses in its straighter fall to ocean,

Quicksand where the water’s sleep
Laps and ripples with desire,
Incubated in the oozing deep
Of the adolescent mire
That washes out our raw debris
Before it settles down to sea,

And in the water’s thunder
What murmurs of the land,
What constant surging flow down under
Takes us blindly by the hand
And helps our timid tributary soar
Into passion’s full-blown tidal bore,

What rumbling, plotting inner cavity
Forges currents out of random rain,
Galaxies from gravity
And lovers from the planet’s worldly brain,
Hiding reservoirs in lakes
Until something moves it, and it wakes.


Like the movie Wings of Desire, the poem “Weddings” creates a still, hovering feeling of floating in the air, a sort of whispering that pulls the spirit out of physical objects. You can’t breathe while the poem wends its way. It’s not in the same world as reason. It makes you feel as if you’re one of those human layers in the lake, suspended in water and its imagery. A lot of poetry is outside you, while this seems to come inside you. At the same time, you enter the world of the poem, and you hover inside there. A lot of it has to do with the music of the language; it creates a flowing river of sound that you hear.

—Cathy Halstead