Poetry

Poetry

The agonie

Philosophers have measur’d mountains,
Fathom’d the depths of seas, of states, and kings,
Walk’d with a staffe to heav’n, and traced fountains:
But there are two vast, spacious things,
The which to measure it doth more behove:
Yet few there are that sound them; Sinne and Love.

Who would know Sinne, let him repair
Unto Mount Olivet; there shall he see
A man so wrung with pains, that all his hair,
His skinne, his garments bloudie be.
Sinne is that presse and vice, which forceth pain
To hunt his cruell food through ev’ry vein.

Who knows not Love, let him assay
And taste that juice, which on the crosse a pike
Did set again abroach; then let him say
If ever he did taste the like.
Love in that liquour sweet and most divine,
Which my God feels as bloud; but I, as wine.

Praise prepositions

Going down the list: after against among
around, I think how trivial they are,
how low their self-esteem,
how like safety pins they merely connect.
Prepositions are the paid help we’re not allowed
to talk to, the maids in black uniforms
who pass hors d’oeuvres at parties.
Or rather, if we could laugh together,
they would be the forbidden joy
leaping like sparks between us.
Who can survive without connection?
All winter, green waits for the sun
to wake it from its nap and so we say
sunlight lies on the grass.
Even the simplest jar connects—jar
under moonlight, on counter, jar in water.
Imagine prepositions in the Valley of Dry Bones
stitching the femur to the heel,
the heel to the foot bone. And afterwards,
they got up to dance. Between, beside, within
may yet keep the chins and breasts
from tumbling off Picasso’s women.
If I could, I would make prepositions the stars
of a book, like the luminary traveling the navy sky
the night sweet Jesus lay in his cradle,
pulling the nameless, devious kings
toward Bethlehem, and us behind them,

Search engines

We’re here to gather evidence, to find
The DNA—or at least to lift the finger-
prints of Deity. A treasure hunt
With clues craftily concealed, but there
Nevertheless. If clouds drifting dreamily
Across the moon’s congested face won’t do,
Or waves that threaten passion in the
Higher sense, beyond a Category
Five, make you shrug, consider numbers,
Counting to infinity. Boot up
Your Apple, and see how many zeroes it
Can prophesy. Click a remote: note
How mice, unwired, can still point
To sites unmentioned in the manual.
Divide three into ten, and claim eternity.

Brother Mars

Hubble pockets light years, eons, sees eye
   to eye with dust, a small drop of water.
   NASA’s robot stalks tiptoe, a cat’s paw
on the prowl to report if there is life,
beeps back a monument of stone and ice,
   an unresponsive mountain in orbit.
   Delicate antennae translate the laws
of physics into a mourner’s sigh.

But the frozen droplet, like the sea
   to a drowning man, whirls its rueful hoard
of thanks deferred, of love unvoiced, the pleas
of miracles before the eyes, the mystery
   of the heart, the mind’s Post-it notes: Praise the Lord,
Carpe Diem and Memento Mori.

Heeling

It’s the coat I notice first, several sizes
too big, and blue as the sea, an ocean
to drown in, and clearly not hers. It was,
I guessed, his, just two months dead, and
she, his wife for scarcely a year, stays
afloat, barely, marooned in his clothes, in
anything that keeps him close, the scent
and touch of cloth to skin. But it’s the shoes
that pierce my heart—gunboats, we called
them when I was a child—and they do look
like boats, his New Balance sneakers that
carry her, heeling, over sharp breaking waves.