It is with heavy hearts that we, the Council for Wisconsin Writers, join Susan Elbe’s friends, colleagues and writing community in wishing Susan farewell.
Susan, who died suddenly of a heart attack last month, was a lifelong award-winning poet whose poems and books of poetry received a number of honors and prizes from CWW and other organizations. She served on CWW’s board of directors for nearly a decade during which she created and maintained the organization’s website.
Morning, and the river
gives up its cold.
Sit. Breathe. Each moment
its own kerning.
Listen for the breath behind a breath,
the river rivering.
Light angles down and through,
green gesso of water.
The artist says on canvas, layers
of clear varnish allow luminosity—
Vermeer’s bruised-pear light.
but now, you’ve learned
light has a price.
Only shade exposes ledge
and drop-off, what light hides.
A dry stone–blue dust, chalk.
It says stay.
A wet stone—black, unblinking lizard eye.
It says go.
Whatever you decide, this day will go.
One bird’s song
can pull you from your breath.
There’s kindness in the world,
small, silver, out of reach.
© Susan Elbe
First appeared in 88: A Journal of Contemporary
American Poetry, Issue 6, (October 2006)