Poetry

Poetry

Emancipation?

Many fields, many treasures, many pearls
(One chosen). Here, fish netted, many kinds,
But singularity is not the point,
The point is, good are kept, and bad destroyed.
Are these the gentle Galilean’s words?
If so, a strange form of gentility:
The angels throw the evil in the fire,
And there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
O, how we twist and turn and rationalize,
Assured Matthew was victim of his time,
And heaven’s kingdom never need be forced,
And “way that leads to life” is easy, smooth.
Shall we amend, then, the Apostles’ Creed:
“To judge the quick and dead”? This we don’t need.



Any day's light

The water lilies laugh, though not
Unkindly. I miss it every day:
First their opening, then their closing.
I am the small joke of flowers, not that I

Mind, though I’m looking for some guidance
In return. After all, I am like
Them, needing light but not built for
Too much of it. But unlike me,

They know when and how to quit, to close up
Shop and consider, in their pleasant,
Shuttered rooms, what the poured-down
Light of any day reveals.







Doubting Thomas

I wish that everything could be like this—
Sex, for instance. Love. To touch the blood
Of someone else by reaching deep in kiss
Made holier than kiss, by Jesus made

Into the resurrection of the body,
And by the God for whom he is the son.
I feel that I was born to do this duty,
To place my hand inside of such a one

And gasp. I am the awe of the beloved,
Who finds fulfillment in the commonplace,
The one who hears the footsteps, sees the face,
And weeps. True, some by their belief are moved.
Not me. His blood is drying on my fingers.
The scene of who he is, and was, still lingers.



Cousin Quartet

Years ago, my mother sang in a quartet
with her sister Lorraine and their two cousins.
The Cousin Quartet, it was called.
I just asked her about it tonight, as she lay dying.

“The funny thing was,” she said,
“we always stood with our backs to a window.
And someone was always pouring sand.”

I asked my aunt about these things;
she shook her head. And so we gather
evidence for the fading music
of the mind, the light behind us.
And someone is always pouring sand.







Friday

I am imagining the soldier
who drove the nails,
clambering around or across
the body, straddling and stretching
to reach the hands,
trying to avoid seeing
the face and eyes,
ignoring the eternal life line
dividing the palms
from fingers down to wrists,
glimpsing the lips
moving silently,
mouthing words not meant
for ears to hear;
And I’m wondering
how many keepers of reliquaries
claim to own those nails,
or perhaps even the letter home
written by the nailer
or some other soldier ordered
later to do his duty
and pull them out.