An Unexpected Meeting & Golgotha

Clifford Venho

An Unexpected Meeting

Upon the keen tip of a branch
stuck in a mess of grass,
on a sandbank newly
uncovered by the sea,
sits a white oval—
ice-clear, ghostly.

What are you, flowering canvas
among the sand and grass?

The oval stirs, turning, and becomes
the lean-necked, pure-beaked egret.
His fine limbs caress the bend
of the branch, but his eyes are
cool and distant.

Where are you gazing, all-seeing
Catcher of Fish?

He remains, poised in his
delicate anchoring,
one leg gently lifted.

And then, unlocking the mystery
of wings to the air,
he breathes his invisible being
over branch and grass,
becoming, as he rises,
a grain of white sand
in oceans of sky.


The mist lying
in the grass
speaks the language
of solitude;
bent and tangled
overgrown with
morning glories,
cover the ground
in death.
I have come here
seeking the one who
in dreams
has called me,
has led me
to the place of skulls,
to bear witness
not to the grave
but to its emptiness—
the emptiness of silence
where the path
to life begins.

Clifford Venho was born in New York City. He studied English and creative writing at the State University of New York at New Paltz. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in La Piccioletta Barca, Chronogram Magazine, and elsewhere. His translation of Novalis’ Hymns to the Night was published by Mercury Press in 2015. He lives in Chestnut Ridge, New York with his wife and their orange tabby.

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