I Met a Man

traveling with a small pack on his back
who said he was from the land of Nod

and invited me along
a path that none had taken yet

and that led between tall trees
and then he turned and nearly disappeared

he traveled with such speed
but we kept a pace together we did

headed toward the edge of things
He told me of his life on the road

like a thread woven into a cloak
with a pattern that mixes red and greens

in the aura of a wide meadow
threaded with a wandering stream

That life kept nothing from each town
but what would fit in his hand

and he opened it now so that
I might see

he held nothing
but the warmth of the sun

And he offered it to me
a golden coin in the pool of his palm

and I carry it still in my small pack
and look it’s here for you

 

The Other Life

My eyes cannot penetrate the rain
cannot see beyond the canopy of elephant-ear leaves

but beneath a jungle breathes
in thick wet mumblings

and everywhere in this paradise
there are enemies

I carry my life on my back
with an ammo belt

and kiss the metal fruit
of dangling grenades

walking the perimeter of another life
where the palms burn orange like candles

It is a place I have never been
curled up in my dorm room

studying Nietzsche of an afternoon
undefeated invincible in fact

nested in the in-between
waiting for the bell of history

Remembering does not free me
from the metal sting the burning

or tearing of lead
The serpent turns to swallow its tail

and I stand at the other end
drinking from a muddy stream

 

George Moore’s recent collections include Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FurureCycle 2016) and Children’s Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015). Poems have appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, Orion, Arc, Colorado Review, and Stand. He is a six-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize, and has been shortlisted for the Bailieborough Poetry Prize and long-listed for the Gregory O’Donoghue Poetry Prize and the Ginkgo Prize. He lives with his wife, also a poet, on the south shore of Nova Scotia.