The Night is Heavy (After Tu Fu), George Freek

Marilyn Higginson, November at Baskett Refuge, Oil on Wrapped Canvas



The day is a clock without a face.
With solemn grace, the moon
falls into its customary place.
Time means nothing to it.
I question myself to gain
peace of mind. But answers
are hard to find.
Stars appear like lanterns,
but they light no path.
They’re beyond my grasp.
In the dim moonlight
an owl spies a rodent,
crawling in the wet grass.
He’s relentless in his search.
Watching his pursuit,
my face is ashen
in the window’s clear glass.

George Freek


Review by Ed Higgins

Freek’s poem here is much in the grim answers are hard to find tone of Tu Fu who often laments that even in the starkness of nature’s observed beauty: Stars appear like lanterns, but they light no path. We are subject to a predatory world that eludes our peace of mind. And Freek’s narrator here turns ashen as an owl spies and relentlessly pursues a night-hunted rodent. The paired symbolism of hunter-hunted may be grim reality but it is what we invariably see if clear-eyed. Freek’s poem is night-heavy in tone, but gripping in its harsh beauty nonetheless.

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