Entering Genesee Gorge
(by Anthony Piccione)
The tangling weave of leaf and branch releases.
We awake suddenly and at last upon a great
bristling stillness, an urge to kneel and rise
at once, as inside the chest of a cathedral.
Through the muscular rock and starkly
forested upheave a river goes on arriving.
Now the soundless clench over ears
gives way to the roaring spill of waterfall.
The sky is also new, or it was always here,
strangely alive. A massive billowing cloudbank
weighs down upon all the surrounds until witness
itself enters the dark, towering, luminous presence.
Oddly heroic, then, is the squat waterwheel shack
hunched alone in its task to part the tumbling rush
and to creak on in its cogs to the grinding of bread.
Stiff, rickety, a footbridge spans the gorge and holds.
Incredibly, two robed figures--women, or monks, or angelic
visitors from another time--are walking across. Their words,
so invisible and tiny, go worth to whisper into nations.
Above them, feathery beings pause, lift upon the updraft.
(from The Guests at the Gate: Poems) (2002)