Poetry

Poetry

Dull reader

Dear reader, when your readers seem dull
as dusk, be patient and recall
that place you must have skimmed in Paul
a dozen times, and never noticed at all.

Excess

Spring in the garden edge, a periwinkle maze—
O Lord of spill and swell.       I will not disappoint
you now, he says; I’ve honed your cell’s repairs.

The human ware is slippery in our hands; an ankle
twists, breaks on a granite ledge; joint
failure of a stone and heel, the puddled stairs . . .

And so, God digs into his resurrection—
a funny rib and tooth, a good and solid shoulder:
the hidden measure of largesse.

Imagine, in a yard, another bone to spare; imagine—
long and grassy. For grasses err in favor
of excess . . .       Ah, isn’t that the Word, excess?   

    Not just repaired: pampered, festooned, unspent.
    A risen body, Lord, our flesh has never dreamt.

False Solomon’s seal


                                    (Maianthemum racemosum)

False Solomon’s seal, you trade
     in frankincense and myrrh,
          filling the forest with your fragrance.

There is a wisdom in the ladder
      of your leaves, clasping their way
           to each perfusion of scent and blossom.

Multiplied beneath the sunlit spaciousness
     of Douglas fir, you make a Milky Way
          of stars, as if the skies had poured

themselves into our lap, born
     again as a field of flowers, one vast aroma,
          calling us to a true home.

                                         —North Cascades National Park

Aubade

Sometimes, certain mornings, we are born again,
our feet traveling the floor new feet, new floor,
our windows watching us as we cat-stretch, all new

to see our yard staring, blossoming,
these flowers we newly planted yesterday
more wide-eyed than when we put them to bed.

We’ve never seen such hue regard the sky,
every impatiens plant’s uplifted head
jubilant, defiant, red, on red, on red.

After such streaming light comes to our hands
like stigmata to the saints, we shower and wait,
the old terror, our familiar, on its way—

the shaving or the make-up mirrors will hold
our bones a death mask fits, then mirror back our yards—
nothing the same color, nothing, sun’s every glance.

Some observations about creation in early spring

I guess it’s fairly organized,
I mean, the stream nicely divides
two hills from each other, and trees
grow up the ridge—there’s open ground,
and above it a hundred vultures turn
like clockwork, black gears in the sky,
and there’s a snake, and a little girl
who’s picking speckled violets,
and, following a sense of order,
she’s turning, too, in absolute
delight. I just can’t see one part
existing, or meaning really, without
requiring every other part
also to exist and to mean and, when
you think of heavenlier things—
the complicated turning up there—
it just gets out of hand, and now
my mind can’t hold the thought of it,
like a cloud passing across the sky,
a wispy, cottony cloud in motion.
Creation does not divide itself—
I’m glad to learn that much today.
And apparently I’m blind to seeing
the thread that binds it all together,
and then as the cloud becomes mere sky
I think, my God, there isn’t a thread.