Issue 11, December 2013
{ The Bear Speaks to the Boy}
by Chard deNiord
For Soren
The ground you walk on is ice that melts from underneath. If you look through it you'll see the fire at the center of the earth. The air you breathe is water. There is no difference between lake and sky. The difference makes no difference. You swim and fly with equal ease in your dreams, which are real enough for you to believe. The sky you paint on the ground is dark if you stare hard enough beyond the day. Close your eyes: Black Valley of Sun through which you wander in vain as a man in search of the life you cannot live. That hole you feel beneath your heart in the middle of the night when you awake from the sound of a mouse and fear for your life is only your mother calling to you. The distance of stars is canceled by light. The holiness you see in everything is masked by unholiness. Hear how it hums and swears. Listen for the voice in some dumb thing to tell you who you are. Keep your balance on the slippery earth. Sharpen your vision inside the sleep of a long cold winter.

Chard deNiord the author of four books of poetry, The Double Truth (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), which was cited by the Boston Globe as one of the ten best books of poetry in 2011, Speaking in Turn, a collaboration with Tony Sanders (Gnomon Press, 2011), Night Mowing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), Sharp Golden Thorn (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003), Asleep in the Fire (University of Alabama Press, 1990). His poems and essays have appeared in The Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies, the Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review, Slate, AGNI, Harvard Review, Ploughshares, and Salmagundi. His book of essays and interviews with seven senior American poets (Galway Kinnell, Maxine Kumin, Lucille Clifton, Donald Hall, Robert Bly, Ruth Stone, and Jack Gilbert) titled Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs, Conversations and Reflections on 20th Century American Poets was published by Marick Press in 2012. He is the co-founder and former program director of the New England College MFA Program in Poetry. He is currently a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Providence College and lives in Putney, Vt. with his wife, Liz.