G.C. Waldrep

The Authentic Galleries
February 22, 2019 Waldrep G.C.


Begin again. Begin with the wound.
The wound begins with you,
it moves before you
into the dapple, the blueberry glade
and rhododendron
through which the man-trail cuts.
We are not severed. That
is the most important thing.
The oldest bark
blackened from long-ago fires.
I could walk forever, &
never see your face.
(I always see Your face.)
—beneath the supplicant pines.
Bear softly & with courage,
amateur. They have destroyed
the ledgers of our youths.
Either you or You, the lightning
or the earth that draws it.
Were I quarry would I flee.
The mountain’s brow
thick with gun-light, secreted.
“I am so happy,” Hopkins repeated
to himself, on his Dublin deathbed.
I’m watching a drug deal
high on the mountain,
by the disused fire tower
strung with razor-wire.
We will never be more frightened
than we are now,
is one way to describe Christ.
Our fear is inexpressibly beautiful.
Like a geode it must be cracked open.
Like a geode its crystals
grow inward,
towards a natural limit.
You may take a piece, feel it
moving through you,
its infant’s cry
meticulous, thrice-gratified, strong.

G.C. Waldrep’s most recent books are feast gently (Tupelo, 2018), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and The Earliest Witnesses (Tupelo/Carcanet, 2021).  Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Poetry, Paris Review, New England Review, Yale Review, Colorado Review, The Nation, New American Writing, Conjunctions, and other journals.  Waldrep lives in Lewisburg, Pa., where he teaches at Bucknell University and edits the journal West Branch.