Wake: Up to Poetry
Poem of the Week: “Amber” by Eavan Boland
In “Amber,” Eavan Boland expertly distills the experience of grief and the memory of a loved one into one power-packed image. The amber which drops “through seasons and centuries to the ground” transforms “clear air” into “a flawed translucence,” the past refracted through time.
It never mattered that there was once a vast grieving:
trees on their hillsides, in their groves, weeping—
a plastic gold dropping
through seasons and centuries to the ground—
On this fine September afternoon from which you are absent
I am holding, as if my hand could store it,
an ornament of amber
you once gave me.
Reason says this:
The dead cannot see the living.
The living will never see the dead again.
The clear air we need to find each other in is
gone forever, yet
this resin once
collected seeds, leaves and even small feathers as it fell
which now in a sunny atmosphere seem as alive as
they ever were
as though the past could be present and memory itself
a Baltic honey—
a chafing at the edges of the seen, a showing off of just how much
can be kept safe
inside a flawed translucence.