Stillness - at Kykuit

Sequestered high, a great corner room,
Leaded glass windows, the river
Distant and still. Lights on the far shore
Soften in the rose colored mist of dawn.

The castle keep of a storied house.
Something here wants to suspend time,
To pronounce the word tableau, pastoral,
Rolling hills, headland, river like a sea.

I sit at a writing desk on a raised dais,
A woman’s portrait in a silver frame –
Gowned in brocade, a brilliant evening
Begun and ended long ago.

Something wants to call the question.
Could that possibly be snow? No,
Only the last silent fall of leaves
Blanketing the garden paths below.

Something here wants to call my name 
As though I am ordained to answer -
Meaning, still beauty, hallowed ground.
Go forth - take the river to its source.

I am now the only air in the room.
What force of will made this house
Dispersed now where, what remnant 
Of huge ambition, what atonement.

If I take it all in, argue the devil 
His due, spend the bearer bonds 
Of legacy down to my last breath.
Would that do, and for whom.

It is too easy here, too safe.
Something wants the silence to end,
Come chaos, a cacophony of voices
Descend. I sit, a tightly coiled spring.

November 2002

Kykuit is the great house at Pocantico, the Rockefeller Estate
high above the Hudson in Tarrytown, N.Y.