Perspective

Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Poems

Some poems previously posted ...

The Angels - Rainer Maria Rilke
The Book of Images

They all have tired mouths
and bright seamless souls.
And a longing (as for sin)
sometimes haunts their dream.

They are almost all alike;
in God's gardens they keep still,
like many, many intervals
in his might and melody.

Only when they spread their wings,
are they wakers of a wind:
as if God with his broad sculptor-
hands leafed through the pages
in the dark book of the beginning.


All That Died in the Cat-Punctured Mouse - Dean Young

was needless to the eternal mouse
who gigantically stands over me
as I drop his used-tea-bag body into the trash,
even the trash standing over itself
with stink by the end of the week
suggesting a thing of beauty may linger
not eternally in the mind but it's not
beauty's fault, it is the mind's.
The mind is made of milk
and refrigeration has its limits.
So while in Italy, see as many Caravaggios
as you can and I will look here in my bushes
and grocery store. I will go through my closet.
It is shadow that brings forth grace
he would have agreed with Leonardo,
some things are truest only glimpsed
although reflectology can reveal
how a ruffian becomes a cherub,
the eyes that were once open half-closed,
a hand now lifted to a cheek.
Still as sugar is the house, distant
stays the sea, the eternal part of my friend
must be needed elsewhere which may account
for my continued grief. Come back
it's silly to plead yet the moon comes back
and it is everything to me, the springtime
crickets, the cheese steaks of Philadelphia,
my brain inside a bell until static overwhelms
the broadcast like a fire alarm a history class
and no one runs or screams,
having been so well drilled.


After St. Vincent Millay - Bruce Smith

When I saw you again, distant, sparrow-boned
under the elegant clothes you wear in your life without me,
I thought, No, No, let her be the one
this time to look up at an oblivious me.
Let her find the edge of the cliff with her foot,
blindfolded. Let her be the one struck by the lightning
of the other so that the heart is jolted
from her ribs and the rest of the body is nothing
but ash. It's a sad, familiar story
I wish you were telling me with this shabby excuse:
I never loved you anymore
than I hated myself for loving you.

And about that other guy by your side
you left me for. I hope he dies.


The Hurt Locker - Brian Turner

Nothing but the hurt left here.
Nothing but bullets and pain
and the bled out slumping
and all the fucks and goddamns
and Jesus Christs of the wounded.
Nothing left here but the hurt.

Believe it when you see it.
Believe it when a 12-year-old
rolls a grenade into the room.
Or when a sniper punches a hole
deep into someone’s skull.
Believe it when four men
step from a taxicab in Mosul
to shower the street in brass
and fire. Open the hurt locker
and see what there is of knives
and teeth. Open the hurt locker and learn
how rough men come hunting for souls.


This Error is the Sign of Love - Lewis Hyde

“Man has to seek God in error and
forgetfulness and foolishness.”
-- Meister Eckhart

This error is the sign of love,
the crack in the ice where the otters breathe,
the tear that saves a man from power,
the puff of smoke blown down the chimney one morning, and the widower sighs and gives up his loneliness,
the lines transposed in the will so the widow must scatter coins from the cliff instead of ashes and she marries again, for love,
the speechlessness of lovers that forces them to leave it alone while it sends up its first pale shoot like an onion sprouting in the pantry,
this error is the sign of love.

The leak in the nest, the hole in the coffin,
the crack in the picture plate a young girl fills with her secret life to survive the grade school,
the retarded twins who wanter house to house, eating, ‘til the neighbors have become neighbors.
The teacher’s failings in which the students ripen,
Luther’s fit in the choir, Darwin’s dyspepsia, boy children stuttering in the gunshop, boredom, shyness, bodily discomforts like long rows of white stones at the edge of the highway,
blown head gaskets, darkened choir lofts, stolen kisses,
this error is the sign of love.

The nickel in the butter churn, the farthing in the cake,
the first reggae rhythms like seasonal cracks in a government building,
the rain-damaged instrument that taught us the melodies of black emotion and red and yellow emotion,
the bubble of erotic energy escaped from a marriage and a week later the wife dreams of a tiger,
the bee that flies into the guitar and hangs transfixed in the sound of sound ‘til all his wetness leaves him and he rides that high wind to the Galapagos,
this error is the sign of love.

The fault in the sea floor where the fish linger and mate,
the birthmark that sets the girl apart and years later she alone of the sisters finds her calling,
Whitman’s idiot brother whom he fed luke the rest of us,
those few seconds Bréton fell asleep and dreamed of a pit of sand with the water starting to flow,
the earth’s wobbling axis uncoiling seasons--seed that need six months of drought, flowers shaped for the tongues of moths, summertime
and death’s polarized light caught beneath the surface of Florentine oils,
this error is the sign of love.

The beggar buried in the cathedral,
the wisdom-hole in the façade of the library,
the corners of the garden that are not farvested,
the hail storm in a South Dakota town that started the Farmers’ Cooperative in 1933,
the Sargasso Sea that gives false hope to sailors and they sail one and find a new world,
the picnic basket that slips overboard and leads to the invention of the lobster trap,
the one slack line in a poem where the listener relaxes and suddenly the poem is in your heart like a fruit wasp in an apple,
this error is the sign of love!

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