Motto Suitable for Embroidery
Failure is always partial: every tense—
future or past or present—is an arc
only, not the full circle, which must work
elsewhere its recompense.
Glutted with weeping of dismantled snow,
streams run disheveled, yielding grace to force;
but bide the season, and each chastened course
remembers how to flow.
Not that all things, concentric for our sakes,
feed us with order, but that order comes
against, around and over us, and hums
while mending what it breaks.
I like believing this unlikely tale,
or should I say believe it out of need,
or need belief, wherever it may lead
or how I partly fail.
Rhina P. Espaillat
Landscapes with Women: Four American Poets,
Singular Speech Press, ©
1999. Reprinted by permission