Poems by Diane Weber '78


Diane E. Weber ’78

Of the first two poems, Diane Weber ’78 says, “‘Airmail Letters’ was written about my time in the University’s Program in Vienna, years after my time there, but as if I were still there, writing to a friend at St. Lawrence. No one sends airmail letters anymore, but they were a lifeline to students abroad at one time. ‘Vienna Redux’ was written when I went back to Vienna 35 years after I had been a student there and had the good fortune to visit the Austro-American Institute and tour with the current director. It was an amazing experience, being back there.”


Airmail Letters

I see you resting against the trunk of an elm,
your back against the gray and furrowed bark;
one hand strokes the curve of tender grass
while you write this letter to me.
Then, letter written, you lie back,
you stretch out beneath the avenue of elms,
feel the roots deep beneath you,
and, through the lacing of branches,
watch the clear blue sky
of a north country fall afternoon.

Do you see me as I see you?
Can you see the ashen sky above me,
the sky I search for signs
of your moon, your stars, your sun?
Can you hear the sighing
of the Danube, as it passes
under a stone bridge, as it flows east,
toward Hungary and away
from you? Can you smell the Turkish coffee,
aroma seeping from cafés as I pass by,
the bitterness in the air?

Send me another letter:
let us walk hand-in-hand
along the avenue of the elms,
until, finally, I drift asleep
under these distant stars.


Vienna Redux (August 2012)

The sun is brighter than I remember,
the colors sharper, the air hotter.  Perhaps
it is the season of the year, or of my life
but it brings out the flush in my skin

and the flavors of Grüner Veltliner
and Apfelstrudel explode in my mouth,
sharp and green and sweet at once.
I look around me: my university, my café,

the streetcars, the shops, the opera house
and churches. I walk the streets of the city
of my dreams and do not get lost.
I turn corners and know where I am.

I read my poems to the city
and feel its rushing heart beat in answer.


Ice Dreams

         for those who came before

 

At midnight, at two and at three,

black north country nights

in black north country winter,

 

long ago girls

race down the ice, screaming,

tasting deep the chilled air,

 

gliding along on the cold edge

of danger, gasping

for breath, fingertips beating

 

the pulse of the heart, slamming

the boards, feet flying

out, sliding along on the blade

 

of the ice, melting skin into ice,

swallowing hard a mouth full of plastic,

protecting against the curved stick,

 

the black disk of fury flying...

Nights on the ice, fought for

and embraced, by long ago girls,

 

skating and weaving, creating a team

of women playing hockey--

women plotting anarchy