A Poem by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

The Night John Prine Died

The pink full moon rose over the pandemic
singing through the tree, “Hello in there. Hello.”

We listened, all children grown old, but always
looking for something to hold onto, even angels

of the old rivers of our hearts’ journeys, 
grown wilder in their holiness, forcing new channels

like the holy is prone to do, especially when everything
changes. What is there to do but stand here,

willing peaceful waters to calm us, sometime 
in the future, as if that’s where paradise lay?

But John Prine knew there’s a hole in the world. 
We can only glimpse it now while time changes us,

if we’re true, into souvenirs of this life,
talismans of something perennial as leaves

beneath the tree of forgiveness the moon climbs.
Come on home, come on home, come on home.

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of 23 books, including Miriam’s Well, a novel; Everyday Magic: A Field Guide to the Mundane and Miraculous, and Following the Curve, poetry. Her previous work includes The Divorce Girl, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet, a bioregional memoir on cancer and community; and six poetry collections, including the award-winning Chasing Weather with photographer Stephen Locke. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely.


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