If you put all my joy over all our pots together,
It would not touch how I feel about this cast-iron pot.
Let all my joy from all our pots be plopped together
and it slops around, with room, inside this iron pot.
I never thought I’d see a black utensil packed together
with black lids of iron and be thrilled to feel a pot.
When I’m old we’ll need to lift it’s weight together
or I’ll bend beneath the iron. But today I waltz this pot.
We ate our people’s roots but no-one’s meat
or wine, and hung our harps on willow wands
unplayed by winds. I read our people’s book
and found the number there of years we must
be slaved. From sorrow we’d forgot to look.
I turned toward the wall and would not play.
I told Yahweh it must be His to count
the years, I said “We are your portion
in the earth. You’re poor. We’re all you’ve got.”
The instant when our sins should slash a vein,
when lambs are hushed their crying by a blade,
the legate Gabriel enpierced my room.
A word went out. He said. An actual word,
resuscitating sentences, germ cells of books,
as books are matrices for nations. Words
went out at dusk and I have fought celestial
orcs to bring them home. Get up, get out,
go virgin to a virgin couch and and kiss a virgin
mouth, plant stories in your fields, fire
pots for wines, and sing new wedding psalms
beneath your virgin vines. Go home.
Fragments overheard before the police came.
I jotted down what I could, then I hid in the cupboard.
Come now, sing now, happy tunes
and drink, drink, drink — we’re in our youth.
“Fool, fool, deliberate fool:
can you drink the cup?
Or will it drown you?
Down, down, three times down,
take the triple-bath, play the triple-tool.
Fool, fool, deliberate fool…” (repeat)
Continue reading “Maundy Drinking Songs”
I wonder where the mockingbird is from, and where it went, you said.
You’re Job, I said, when Yahweh sphinxes him for fun.
You said it came a second night but then last night was gone.
He blanked, I said, on when the mountain-goats give birth,
He blanked on where Leviathans cross seas,
He blanked on why the wind both woos and kills.
You said it sang beside our bed two nights, not three. Not three.
I said I can’t explain antiphony.
Amen is its own reward.
The mist collects to droplets on the leaves,
slight inches from my eye. I stare.
I do not see the force and law that forms
the silver globes. I do not see what’s there,
for spinning wild is how the atoms mean
the world. I stare.
Simple, still, and silent balls, the water
drops just make for me the maelstrom
into symbols. And I stare.
All men by nature want to know for sure
and poetry is knowing what is there.
The poem is the end of artifice, I’m sure.
And then suspicion that this thought itself
will wisp into some final sucking fire,
this thought that thought is simultaneous
and simultaneous is how to think.
When I affirm that God is one in essence,
essence still, and silent and indeed so simple,
and yet hypostases, yet three, are he and he and he,
the creeds seem end of artifice for me.
I know I think too much, while grass in blades
is choosing how to shape the tuft of blooms,
yet bees are hyperlinking blooms in air,
yet atmospheres are swirling over continents,
yet continents are spinning, wild, the world
into the artificial silver globe among the drops
He stares. He stares, He finds His thoughts take shapes
as artificial lines. Yet good. Yet very good.
You say you know of love.
You heard there was a man who kept a vow
which cost him songs and woman flesh: you sneered,
and sneer replaced your syntax. Faithfulness
has passed and so has story, so you cannot not
betray and be betrayed. You riddle Raphael,
demand of Gabriel his password, and the blessed
Michael you sequester for his shots. You animate
and warm by devil arts, demanding angel proofs
from pronoun parts contorted in a double helix.
You say you know of love.
You nominate yourselves the chefs of love
with tongues forever virgin of the delicates
of love, unable to obtain old age of love.
So smug, and stupid, and smug about your stupid,
sitting while befouling hind and feet
in excrement so proud to sit and trowel
it round to front, then back, for it is warm.
Adjust, again, the angle of your friction
and engorge, and say you know of love.
I say I know of love
but only pose a naked contradiction
for sublimity can only be reported,
never proved. It flares within a story
framed by rituals and vows, an agon held
as precious for a lifetime, paths where righteous
souls all trip but rise their seven times per day
to say “I do.” And this, Oh this
is plot and character, the grail, the rose, the wind
that spins the sun and all the summer stars.
I say I know a love you do not know:
in sickness and in health,
both warm and cold,
in hunger and in wealth,
nubile, and old:
When you lost this you lost it all.
Down, your house is down. How great the fall.
My sixty-first November carols me.
The stuttered snow, the huddled hawk, the moon
(so bored above the pasture-scape) all wait
the coming Child again, again the church
plays Mary: is the future good? How can it be
the angel’s hail is not a curse, since I’ve
not known a man? Again the carols fling
their seeds, the smallest seeds of all the seeds,
along our deep and dreamless streets.