Three Poems by Lynne Knight


The Japanese meadowsweet fades.
The grass brittles, the rain stays east
or north or south. The heron at the edge
of the strait just at dawn took off as I neared,
swooped low toward the end of the sand spit.
A friend says enough with herons in poems,
especially blue herons, because come on,
there are other birds if you must have birds.
On the way back, I hear a Swainson’s thrush,
the first notes the same as those my mother
would whistle to call me home. Maybe
enough with my mother, too. But oh, hearing
that call, how the heart comes running—


Silent Pianos

I remember thinking Oh please,
         stop going on about it, whenever
my grandmother mentioned
         her arthritis, lamenting no longer

being able to play the piano,
         her fingers so bent & crippled.
She’d had to forsake her rings,
         she’d say again until I longed

to get up, lift the lid & pound
         the repetition away. My mother
glared, so I stayed in my chair,
         bored, twenty. After a while

my mother would sigh Where
         does the time go, & while I drove her
home she’d say the one who could
         really play the piano was Mame,

her grandmother, & then
         her fingers would run the air
as she played a tune from
         childhood, & me not even born.



Late in life, her first lover began to send her
chapters from a book he was writing on his travels
with his wife, recently dead, & each chapter alluded
to their making love, which he sometimes called
a “cuddle,” sometimes “noodling,” & sometimes
the hooting cry of a strange bird they’d seen in Egypt,

so she felt pangs of jealousy, or regret, she could never
be sure, but of course she said nothing of this to him,
even to herself, really, writing instead how the wife
had been so much bolder, so much more adventurous,
so much better suited to him than she would have been.

She believed this. But the pang was there like the sound
of love cries in another room in a hotel where you lie
sleepless, trying not to think of all you’re missing.


Lynne Knight has published six full-length poetry collections and six chapbooks. Her poems have been widely published in journals such as Poetry and The Southern Review; her awards include a Poetry Society of America Award, a RATTLE Poetry Prize, and a National Endowment of the Arts fellowship. Although she lived in the United States for most of her life, she now lives on Vancouver Island.

6 thoughts on “Three Poems by Lynne Knight

  1. I read the same advice about herons — ha! So glad you didn’t follow it. Such lovely poems!

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