Franchot Ballinger

Franchot Ballinger is a retired Emeritus Associate Professor of English from the University of Cincinnati. In addition to regular writing and hiking whenever possible, he volunteers with the Cincinnati Nature Center and as a spiritual care volunteer with Hospice of Cincinnati. Over the years, he has been published in a number of poetry journals and on-line. During the last several years he has sometimes played with traditional forms, some of which have been published recently. He is also quite interested in Chinese and Japanese poetry, especially that of the recluse poets. In 2004 the University of Oklahoma Press published his book Living Sideways: Tricksters in American Indian Oral Traditions.

Under a New Moon

I have come now to that time I have long heard of–
like a country I might someday live in–
but could not imagine,
and so I can hardly believe I have arrived.

It’s different here than I thought.
From this horizon I can see distances…
not the long light-steeped days of my youth,
lived and scarcely glimpsed,
but deep star-sculpted night distances.

Dark.
But only as tonight’s new moon is dark.
Silent.
Still, not the voiceless provinces of dread.

There is an inherence, the promise of the carver’s block
and I begin to listen for all
that can be said without words.

A heedless passing through the light brought me here.
Now I will trust the night, will make my way,
feeling, perhaps, more than seeing the path,
farther and farther
into the opening reaches.

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