From and About To Enter the Stillness
To Enter the Stillness by Douglas Schuder "To Enter the Stillness moves from simple to complex observations within forms that remain open to humor and epiphany."
Judith Skillman
"In Douglas Schuder's poetry we find a sure hand and a watchful eye. He brings uncommonly graceful phrasing to everything he sees."
David Mason


He plies his blue trades
On wings of sky.
Each rounded downstroke
Making a valentine of air.

In a far place to alight
With a rasping squawk
And a windy shuffle and tuck
Of great wings. Then,
To stand in shallows
On legs of yellow reed—
A bone-and-feather fishtrap.

He is the boundless sky
And the distance.
The high passer-by
At dawn and dusk.
Prowler of wide tidelands.
Threader of tangled marshlands.
Sleepwalker, abroad in a silken dream
Of water, cloud, and air.

Lord of lily pad and cress.
Keeper of the stillness.


With what suddenness
We crossed friendship's subtle bounds, to know
Intimacy of the knot!
Propelled by long-deflected need
Past caution, to that junction
Of tangled limbs, pressed lips, and breasts,
And the rest—except what each withheld.

Forgetting to be kind
We made the tie that intertwines
But does not bind.

Unstrung, flung back upon
Our separateness, we marvel
How, beneath friendship's masks
(The careful comity of he and she),
Strangers waited to meet, and clash
Thigh to thigh, then retreat
To heal the wounds
Neither meant to deal.


Thin november light,
Dissembler, of bright dawns that spawn
Brief, brittle days.
Sharp november wind and rain,
Shaving earth's scruff to stubble,
Unmasking the leaner face.
In this barbering,
Shoreline, hillcrest, grace of trees
Are by reduction clarified.
Soon, flesh shall be pared, the white bone bared.

Surfeit of leaf and light
Lent to the year's youth is spent.
Autumn's blood runs thin, claret to gin.
All sensible things bear portent of change.
Mind, too, feels the intruder's breath:
What thins light, chills air, and stirs
Wind and rain to divestiture,
Winnows thought of chaff. Garnered thus,
Not less, but spare and clean,
Its grain.


He gives himself to art.
His vision is profound.
His brush the underpart of him,
His canvas all the ground.

Not gouache, nor oil, he chose
For medium, but slime;
And everywhere he goes
He leaves a trail sublime.

Copyright © 2000 by Douglas Schuder

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