Keith Taylor



He spends more time in his reading chair
than at his desk. Truth told, he spends
most time in that chair, before the window,
looking out at the backyard drama.

He's seen the hawk that eats small birds
fly in just before the slightly larger hawk
that eats small mammals. Watching them
makes it easy enough to kill an afternoon.

He watches his wife gardening, smiling sometimes.           
She looks happy, and he wonders if she might be
happier still if a lifetime ago
she had married a different man.




I know that color—
moonlight reflecting off water,
white but not white,
water darker at the light.

We have no word for it.

I've heard there is a woman's name
that is that word, but northern tongues
can never seem to sound it right.

And then there is the ancient writer
who sailed his ships
through the friendly silence of the moon.

I've heard that sound that is not sound,
and I've seen the primrose
that blossoms in the night.





"Through the Friendly Silence of the Moon" came just after a time when I was rereading a bunch of Yeats, including his very puzzling Per Amica Silentia Lunae, which even T. S. Eliot couldn't figure out. It's a line from Virgil, where he describes the Greek ships moving quietly through the night. And I had just met an interesting person and was told that her name was the name given moonlight on water. I don't know if that was true.