"Lost Self" and "Shadows II"
Here, on this slope that yet has known no plough The woods that summer loved are grey and bare, The harmonies of silence like a song.
And all the day I search but cannot find
A path through thickets of immortal flowers Here in this self which fades as hours pass.
So in the empty sky the stars appear:
The skeleton of a religion lost.
Such is the atom which contains the whole:
New worlds, new selves, where one may live again.
And though I know that I shall never know, There are strange forms of life through which one moves Until all has passed, the tune died away; Fading as softly as the winter's snow.
There shall be shadows I shall always see; Beneath the waves the skeleton ships sing.
Surface ward glide their mysterious sounds, Surrounded, detached, by eddies of space.
Here, there, and in all places at one hour The quiet evening yet together brings Mysterious shapes that slowly grow clear.
True, they are not evil—all hidden powers— And all the day I search but cannot find The world I see from that which I might know.
Page by page flutters a life in fragments:
Oak leaves atremble in the woods afar.
Last night itself is but a stone let fall, A subtle line in life's mysterious face.
So Nature deals with us by taking away.
Casey Clabough’s books include three works of creative nonfiction, a novel, a collection of women’s Civil War writing, a biography, six scholarly books, and Penguin’s latest Idiot’s Guide: Creative Writing. Clabough serves as editor of the literature section of the Encyclopedia Virginia and series editor of the multi-volume Best Creative Nonfiction of the South. He teaches in the Etowah Valley Writers MFA at Reinhardt University.