Molly Lou Freeman

Nothing You Can Do Will Save You
September 15, 2012 Freeman Molly Lou

Nothing You Can Do Will Save You


 The Buddha had his river, just for now this one is mine,

my eternal, my mighty little bit of

river, I’m not going anywhere,

I’m not doing anything,

everything that’s happening has already and will again, sometime


I’ll just watch nightfall come on, the invisible become invisible,

the conjunction of dark and darkness

in the twirl and lessening—in the scrawl and rivulet

of current

I’ll be shadow, I’ll be reflection, I’ll be all that

I don’t get to understand.

That’s the world ahead of me—out there—before reflection, birds calling back into

the wind and windlessness, insects brushing up against

the silklike,

animals breathing at the surface, figures loose oblongs,


the effect of one color upon and in another, this and the many other greens

Ming, Milano, pond scum,

flotsam, lily and the old French names:  merde d’oye, terre verte, feuille morte.

The mind, ma pensée, the phenomena of thinking

—motion, texture, color, tone.

These trees are turning wetter, bigger in the dark, painted

that way, they dissolve

again into the water, surface, color overlaying color,

black in the green, a little bit of yellow ochre in it

on the south shore, a tiny bonfire to go with laughter.

Before this, all along, birds vibrant, expansive, resonant, keeping track

of the wind at my back, over and around, through and in


the trees, the seen, the unalienable landscape, boughs in the air, becoming air,

every each becoming all

in motion ongoing & in stillness.

This, my tiny landscape, therein my uncertainty—

what I don’t know about what I know.

It’s said there’s nothing you can do—

I know, there’s no answer up there, above,

just this, right here, the river fringe:

petals, pollen, feathers, ash—


mine divine approximation

and like and as and like and as

Molly Lou Freeman shares poems from a book manuscript entitled Shelter. She is currently writing a novel. Recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and poetry awards from the French National Literary Endowment, she teaches and translates poetry in Paris. Her poems have been published in numerous American poetry journals. She has recently lectured on poetry at the NYU and Columbia University Departments of Creative Writing. She makes her home in France and is living this year in Mexico.