Originally published in Breaking Open (1973)
From you I learned the dark potential
theatres of the acts of man holding
on a rehearsal stage people and light.
You in your red hair ran down the darkened
aisle, making documents and poems
in their people form the play.
Hallie it was from you I learned this:
you told the company in dress-rehearsal
in that ultimate equipped buildingwhat they lacked:
among the lighting, the sight-lines, the acoustics,
the perfect revolving stage, they lacked only one thing
the most important thing.It would come tonight:
The audiencethe response
Hallie I learned from you this summer, this
Hallie I saw you lying all gone to bone
the tremor of bone I stroked the head all sculpture
I held the hands of birds I spoke to the sealed eyes
the soft live red mouth of a red-headed woman.
I knew Hallie then I could move without answers,
like the veterans for peace, hurling back their medals
and not expecting an answer from the grass.
You taught me this in your dying, for poems and theatre
and love and peace-making that living and my love
are where response and no-response
meet at last, Hallie, in infinity.