Tuesday Poetry by James Goertel. These Remaining Days and The Last Night on Hearth

Tuesday Poetry by James Goertel. These Remaining Days and The Last Night on Hearth

THESE REMAINING DAYS and THE LAST NIGHT ON EARTH from James Goertel’s new poetry collection, Under The Same Moon, contemplate mortality, the inevitable countdown of our own ephemeral days, and the erasure of our footprints in the long march of time.

James Goertel. Under the Same Moon.

James Goertel. Under the Same Moon. Photo Credit: Wikippedia

(for Karl Ove Knausgård)

Take hold of these remaining days
and ask of them,
“How many remain to behold?”

Their answer arrives with a ringing
in the ears,
if at all;
heard or unheard,
there is no heeding it as warning,
no recognizing it as bellwether.

They count hours as
they confer ours.

They count ours as
they confer hours.

They confess what cannot be considered,
contemplated, coerced into becoming
something other than the smoke
and shooting star
they are across our eyes;

without sentimentality
without sanctuary,
without solace

secreted in their minutes
they shout
their arrival,
they whisper
their departure

without the courtesy
or cold comfort
of anything more
than an oft romanticized moon,
more the blood’s ticking clock
than the tides’
which will continue their childlike
game of tag with the shorelines
that haven’t the need, the will, the desire
to hold onto our footprints;
our time erased in rhythms
the same as these remaining days.



Quiet comes
whispering in
on moonlit clouds,
their hushed approach
the anticipation of snow
in the aftermath of
an apocalypse
which never arrived,
though we held
our collective, crystalline breath
in reverence, in remorse,
in imagined regret
for all that was still left
to say, to do, to dream
before the last night on Earth
which, in truth, in the end
will come without prediction,
without predilection
for one and all
despite our unwillingness
to succumb to the quiescence,
to part the veil of clouds,
to drift past a moon
which shelters no sound,
which holds no quarter
for the soft parade of souls
ushered by in a mute refrain,
in silent condemnation
of the words,
the deeds,
the dreams
left behind for those still waiting
on the end
to contemplate
below the silence born
to the black cold black
hung between stars
where spirits linger
no longer in need
of prognostications
to know the end has begun,
is always beginning,
begins in quiet consternation,
is over just as quickly
as it began.


James Goertel. Under The Same Moon

James Goertel. Under The Same Moon


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Born in North Dakota, James Goertel spent twenty years working in television for ABC, NBC, and ESPN, among many others in the U.S. He currently teaches writing at Penn State. Carry Each His Burden (2011) was his fiction debut. Each Year an Anthem (2012) was his poetry debut. With No Need for a Name (2012) and Self Portrait (2013) are his follow-up collections. His debut novel Let the Power Fall will be published in 2014.

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