Poetry - December, 2009

Poetry

Rest on the flight into Egypt

One day thought’s Gethsemane
Like some personal handicap
Or guilt, will venerate the image
Of its last nativity, will fold
Its wings away and say,
“The bird of doubt has gone today.”

And all the “how could I be
So stupid” habit of the soul
Will harden to a pigment
Like raven’s feathers, painted
And set on an ancient canvas,
Giving up its foreground
To a moment’s peace in that journey
Of escape from Bethlehem of birth.

Just as in David’s “Rest on the Flight
Into Egypt,” an angel having whispered
Of slaughter, “You must leave, Joseph,”
He, knocking walnuts from the tree,
The donkey munching quietly some hay,
His son reaching up for grapes,
A young child’s suffering at play,
Not thinking yet, “I must, they say.”

And Mary, seated on a rock,
After long labor, serene as
Nazareth, building her pyramid.

Poetry

Slow: Animal crossing

Just after we’ve communally stuffed and thanked,
the first sleet comes down in shanks
of dirty lambs’ wool, rude messy sheets,
slathering the cars we hunch in, hurrying
again, against some febrile deadline, dodging
the poor squiggling squirrel trying to shoot
across the heavy-metal trafficked road
that intersects his world.

He seems to have made it, tail on.
We may, too, make it home, untripped
this time by our own haste,
knowing in some dark artery
that the meal we need,
the company against the cold,
like the animals in the Ark,
are all waiting, like Advent,
inside the small rooms of the remaining
calendar, we pass through, one
by one.

Poetry

"And the angel left her"

            Luke 1:38

So there she stood alone amid a stillness
as loud as any earthquake she had heard,
the eaves creaking in the absence of wind,
the hiss and tick of radiators warming
the house along with a soon-coming sun.
Her hands touch her belly, swelling already
like dough cupped close in an earthen bowl.
She knows it won’t be long before she shows.
What to do with all this sudden silence?
Phone her boyfriend: Joseph, I have news!
E-mail St. Anne: Dear Mother, I’m afraid.
Drop to her knees, now weak with recognition
and kiss the space he filled a moment past
in answer to the question he had asked.