work, for the night is coming

Standard

Work for the Night is Coming
Jared Carter

On the road out of town past the old quarry
I watched a light rain darkening the ledges
blocked and carded by the drill’s bit

twenty years back. Within those stiff lines,
places half-stained with damp, the rock face
opened to a deeper grain – the probable drift

of the entire ridge outlined for a moment
by the rain’s discoloring. Then all turned dim –
grass holding to the seams, redbud scattered

across the cliff, dark pool of water
rimmed with broken stones, where rain, now
falling steadily, left no lasting patterns.

improvisation

Standard

Improvisation
Jared Carter

To improvise, first let your fingers stray
across the keys like travelers in snow:
each time you start, expect to lose your way.

You’ll find no staff to lean on, none to play
among the drifts the wind has left in rows.
To improvise, first let your fingers stray

beyond the path. Give up the need to say
which way is right, or what the dark stones show;
each time you start, expect to lose your way.

And what the stillness keeps, do not betray;
the one who listens is the one who knows.
To improvise, first let your fingers stray;

out over emptiness is where things weigh
the least. Go there, believe a current flows
each time you start: expect to lose your way

Risk is the pilgrimage that cannot stay;
the keys grow silent in their smooth repose.
To improvise, first let your fingers stray.
Each time you start, expect to lose your way.

Photo by Max Kleinen on Unsplash