A Little Stone

Elizabeth Kirschner

I am a promise made a thousand years ago.
See how the Great One has kept his word
without saying a thing? Even the mute birds celebrate
by holding a grape in their claws for the world to behold.

Grape of the sweet wine and murmuring lovers.
Donít touch their shoulders. Donít tell them
itís long since midnight and all the bells
have been bedded in graves.

Let the lovers touch. Let their bodies be a bridge
arched over ceaseless dark ages. Soon,
the tremolos of sorrow will warn them about
the sharp edge of time when the miracles will stop.

If I am a promise made a thousand years ago,
then you are a promise made a millennium ago.
It goes without saying our ripening is slow.
Why do we love to bury ourselves in the leaves of grief?

Weíre one step away from something gorgeousó
a little stone ripped out of the side of time, all flecked,
all glittering, a little something to look at in persuasive,
pervasive darkness while we sing a dream song

that soaks into a vast oasis of love.

Elizabeth Kirschner
has published three volumes of poetry all with Carnegie Mellon. Her work has appeared widely both nationally and internationally. She has also set her own poetry, not a translation, to Robert Schumann's Dichterliebe, which had its world premiere in Vienna last fall, followed by an American premiere in Boston. The work was recorded at Jordan Hall with soprano Jean Danton and pianist Thomas Stumpf and a CD is forthcoming.