FALL 2009

James J Ragan


One could see the gravity in it,
how, once diminished, the final thread
within its core, might snap from the mooring.
There on a ledge or lintel
bathed by meltings of the building's soil,
a pigeon must have witnessed
the ticking off of water drops and known
through knowledge it had gleaned, a similar
timing lost in wings or on the Union Square clock,
and must have heard a prescient wind
rush by, at first a dalliance
in a cornice, then a craving to leave the sky.
Perhaps the wind's yearning for resistance
had whittled out a stream
on which the ice could ride, impulsively,
past the gearing's grind of ratchet pawls.
What pedestrian's errant turn, floors below,
had tempted momentum, quickened
the blade's hard fall, a gathering of fates
so obsessed to violate the order, the sudden
stabbing would pluralize a sound?
One could hear the gravity in it,
not merely as a voice once mimicked,
but a cry, immortal as Victoria Falls,
heard nine stories above the ground,
and echoing through a scream of walls.

James Ragan has published 7 books of poetry, including "The Hunger Wall," "Lusions," "In the Talking Hours" and his most recent "Too Long a Solitude." A Fulbright professor translated into 12 languages, he has read for five heads of state including Mikhail Gorbachev and Vaclav Havel. His numerous awards include 2 honorary doctorates, an NEA, and a PSA Claytor Award. His off-Broadway plays include "The Landlord" and "Commedia."




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