Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Poetry

Somewhere Every Day

    (after William Fullerton, “I cannot tell11 10 11 10 D)

From South and East, from West and North they gather,
on foot, by car, in rickshaw, tram, and bus,
health, in wheelchair, in joy, in sorrow,
relaxed, uptight, disheveled, and fastidious.
They come, O Christ, to you, to taste the body
that once for all was slain, to sing and pray
and take a cup whose balm brings life from dying—
throughout the world and somewhere, somewhere every day.

The words they hear when they have come together
are chanted, lisped, intoned, or simply said
and tell in myriad tongues with every accent
of body broken and of life’s blood shed.
Mere words convey a gift of perfect freedom,
a debt of love that no one can repay,
a yoke of new and welcomed obligation—
throughout the world and somewhere, somewhere every day.

The spaces where they meet are huge, resplendent,
or huts and hovels all but falling down,
on Sundays jammed but often solitary,
both nowhere and on squares of world renown.
Yet all are hewn from just one Rock unbroken
in whose protection no one is betrayed,
which lets itself be smashed to bits for sinners—
throughout the world and somewhere, somewhere every day.

The hands that tender host and cup are youthful,
emaciated, worn, and manicured.
They take so little time, they bring so little,
to do a work by which so much is cured.
These hands that bring the Savior near are icons
of hands once torn in order to display
with lines of blood the names who come receiving—
throughout the world and somewhere, somewhere every day.







Poetry

Biology: Course review

If you forget what axons do,
or how a virus invades a cell,
remember this—

that light becomes food.
That the seasons rhyme,
a different word each time

turning soil into living song.
That all things work together.
Even death. Even decay.

That this is the way
of the world we got: what is given
grows by grace and care

and knows what it needs.
That life is strong, and precarious,
full of devices and desires.

That what we hold in common
may not be owned. Control
is costly. Close attention

is the reverence due
whatever lives and moves,
mutant and quick and clever.

That our neighbors—
the plankton, the white pine,
the busy nematodes—

serve us best
in reciprocal gratitude:
what they receive, they give.

The way the heart accepts
what the vein delivers and sends it on,
again. Again.

















Poetry

Beach pictures, 1954

The stamp on the backs reads July 12th,
Photos faded to green
Ripening to sepia edges.
Only reds are vivid. The sea grays
To a dark line marking the sky.

Aunt Thelma and Uncle Dimps stand on dunes
Scattered with sea oats, her towel limp
Against a thigh, the flounce of her suit.

Joy studies the sand. I etch something
In the air, my hair a tousled wedge.
Mother tucks legs for the pose.

In another, my aunt grasps my sister’s arm—
Laurene, the first to die. Two of us
Lock arms, stoop when waves break.

She stands alone, already separating herself.







Poetry

What the angel said

          For Fra Angelico

He spoke to you in blue, in the long call
of light from the top of a Tuscan hill.
Your hand answered, the quick sketch of a girl
taking shape before you knew she was you,
head uplifted, her angelful eyes
sure of what they see: being bodied true
as the stilled wings, the beatified sky.
What words might have passed have passed as air
sighed by the soul in the act of rapture.
Now there is only ochre and thin-skinned cream,
struck gold against the garden’s sudden green,
forever as present as it once seemed,
her hands crossed soft against her hidden fear
and angel’s breath still warm within your ear.