Patrick Friesen

The Conrad Grebel Review 20, no. 2 (Spring 2002)

rain comes down that sparse night rain in october you feel
 the sad rhythm of fall
not sad not quite an irregular rustling in the leaves as if
 something might be alive

your mother playing “traumerei” on the piano and singing you
 into dream with “wiegenlied”
you remember that desire to sing to meet the need in her
 voice to find the words

it’s a trap of course there’s not a damned thing you can do
 but reach for the notes
what you want is to sing anonymously you want to sing as if you
 are the voice of the world

now you listen to “peace piece” thinking it’s rain on the leaves
 inside your head
thinking there’s not a false note there’s no presence outside
 the playing and no player

you imagine his hands hovering over the keyboard anticipation
what is held back
what is released his fingers thinking to the bottom of the note
what can’t be sustained

yes it’s rain on poplar leaves on a wooden bench rain on a
 shed’s tin roof those variations
it’s a falling of rain and you’re inside it and no it’s not his song
 it’s never his song

and this touches on what matters doesn’t it not how you think
 about the clearing but how you enter
this is about how you live here your mind moving without
 thought in this home


Patrick Friesen, author of numerous volumes of poetry, including, most
recently,
Blasphemer’s Wheel (1994), St.Mary at Main (1998), and Carrying the Shadow (1999), lives in Vancouver. “peace piece” is from his forthcoming collection, entitled the breath you take from the lord (Harbour Publishing, 2002).