Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Poetry

Seeing the Word

Isaiah saw the Word?
I look up from Writ and am at first just—interested.
How to see something spoken?

And yet one needs to think,
and perhaps I’ve done so, of Word as more than Speech.
I remember that the death

of beloved Uncle Peter
left me, who had adored him, unable to rid
my mouth of a clenching dryness.

It was hopeless cold, and I not alone,
I’d bet, in fear that our notions of redemption
would suddenly turn fiction,

betraying their comfortable weft
as of the exact material of the emperor’s
famous clothes; that we’d make,

despite our self-regard,
fast plans to bulwark each other—and then forget them.
Or rather simply ignore them,

sensing that they’d gone useless. . . .
And it’s true that we’ve all of us scrambled, and shuffled, and worried!
Money. Our kids’ educations.

How they’ll fare in the end.
The kids, that is. And yet, by service’s end,
our “fictions” regathered themselves—

Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Jerusalem!—

as if Peter had risen, spoken,
even if by all measure he was silent,
his ashes down in that box

and the topsoil loaded upon it.
We could see he had spoken, and not in mere abstractions,
though abstractions there were:

Honesty. Decency. Humor.

Less those, though, than his ancient barn-red dory,
the one that he named “Sea Cow,”

which rode Champlain again,
and the yuk-yuk-yuk of his laughter (by the living God,
he did go yuk-yuk-yuk!)

sounding along the sandstone
walls, and, yes, though we shivered, though ashes lay silent,
we heard his handsome face

and the way till his 95th year
he spread his arms in love and welcome and grace
and died in a fitting peace.

His sounds glowed over the mountains
to westward, like soft huge garments we might pull over
ourselves before we found sleep.































Film

Jesus the priest

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.
—Barry Goldwater (with thanks to Thomas Paine)

Blowing up a building can change the world.
—V
Poetry

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.



Poetry

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.







Music

Sound alternatives

The British band Delirious has always been smart, drawing comparisons to U2, Radiohead and Blur. With the album The Mission Bell, the band shoots for added lyrical depth and force. “Our God Reigns,” a key-of-D dirge built around spare acoustic guitar, keyboards and thunderous percussion, may be the hardest-hitting piece, tacking issues like abortion and the AIDS pandemic. (“My Chinese take away/ Could pay for someone’s drugs.”) “Love Is a Miracle” alternates between smoldering, soulful verses and wide-open, gospel-flavored choruses, while “Paint the Town Red” rocks as hard as anything Delirious has ever cut.