This poem by Judy Hogan won first place in the Robert Ruark Foundation Contest for Poetry in 1997-8.


September 13, 1997
Off Half Dollar Road

If we could see from eternity backwards,
we'd have a glimmer. Perhaps we do. We
just don't realize what we're seeing.
The moments when the world holds still,
then: you sit on a tree, curved in its strong arm.
Again there are spaces between the trees
the color of lemon custard as there were in
Russia when you haunted the Peredelkino
grounds, trying to see your future in trees
and sky. Of course, our future and our past
are written there. We know. The sap knows.
It's the leaves that are blind, working, working
as hard as they can; doing eternally the work
of the present. But our future is written
in the spaces, in the eye blinks, in the hesitations,
in the very smallest signs. Why even ask
when we know the answer? It isn't what
he says or fails to say. It isn't the stone
but the lichen growing on it. It's the way a
tree is bent, the way grape vines make a
ground cover and locusts, an evensong. You
knew it was your fate to be loved so
outrageously, illogically, against all the
good judgments, yours, his, others'. You at least
knew not to protest. You made your peace
with him and with yourself. You were ready
to do what was best. Then the answer
came--didn't it? This is best. This love
for this man is what I see when I look
backwards from eternity.

Classes Mysteries

Contact Judy:
Updated: October 24, 1999