Time and Loss: Variations

by Evelyn Hooven (May 2016)



That night, we wove our way

With the white moon three fourths itself,

Seeing an ice-rink in the shape of a fish,

We looked among dank castles of cement

For an ocean at least.

Our shadows full of linden leaves were bare

Between trees except where we stepped

And wondered if they felt.

We stood where we could catch most light,

Closed our eyes to the ocean not there

And to ourselves outlined on concrete.

Summery clothed we are fleshed smooth white

And the sky is cool.

We can touch the trees,

Let the tide come after.

Look how our glance,

How it strikes the air.


Moons come round and castles fall

To the waves’ dark taking.

All our chains rise strange and burning,

Dry the winding, white and fast.




Wearied with moving without rest or wings

We seek some comfort from the solid ground,

Bereaved, we mourn the loss of sought-for things

Forever banned, now we are earthward bound.


Not comfort-craving moved us to descend

Nor poets’ praise of earth nor want of pride,

Nor fear that heaven always would forfend

Man’s entrance to the place where gods abide;


Only that we were wingless in the air

Defenseless, hurled about by angry wind,

Thrust out by the unfriendly atmosphere

To earth, by fiercer powers than we consigned.


May heaven grant to those who are still vain

The gifts it won’t permit them to attain.




Luck made us skeptical,

Our creatures—

Nonsense, terror, mystery—

Are gone from the mantel:

I look for you as for signals,

O Love, who is our enemy?

I look for you as for fields—

Everything’s lost.  .  .


Is it

The distressed


Of monsters

Who will not

For abracadabra

Or sticks

Or stones

Ever quite die?


Is it the ancient dragon,

Hoarder of everything:

Wealth, strength, woe, time,

He who guards the bright cup

And likely sword,

He who threatens

The strange bird

That whirrs and calls

And disappears

Across coldest water?




Evelyn Hooven graduated from Mount Holyoke College and received her M.A. from Yale University, where she also studied at The Yale School of Drama.  A member of the Dramatists’ Guild, she has had presentations of her verse dramas at several theatrical venues, including The Maxwell Anderson Playwrights Series in Greenwich, CT (after a state-wide competition) and The Poet’s Theatre in Cambridge, MA (result of a national competition). Her poems and translations from the French have appeared in ART TIMES, Chelsea, The Literary Review, THE SHOp: A Magazine of Poetry (in Ireland), The Tribeca Poetry Review, Vallum (in Montreal), and other journals, and her literary criticism in Oxford University’s Essays in Criticism.


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