the last being 1638 the same night
One can only imagine
some guy in England in 1638
committing adultery while in his bedroom
trying to warm his lover with charming words
repeating to her words he heard from John Donne
but pretending as if they are his own
Then he sees the moon shining into his window—
Horrified at its color he suddenly leaves her
and goes into the dark cold, screaming
without taking his cloak to cover his nakedness
Bowing down to bury his face in the snow
saying "Oh no my God—
It’s a punishment, for I have sinned against my Lord
with my conversion to becoming Protestant!"
believing that Revelation's judgement day had come
where it says the moon turned the shade of blood
Meanwhile the Muslim world,
not surprisingly, probably had a violent war break out
thinking it’s a sign that Allah was mad…
—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
The rain is talking to the back door.
“Pat, pat, pat”, it says, not even listening to itself.
You are coming down the wind, naming
The clouds as you do. The sidewalks reflect
Your footsteps, “pat, pat, pat”, like an old
French song fashioned of late summer and
A piano in a room overlooking the Mediterranean.
Under the leaves of the trees birds huddle
Remarking at how much you look like the rain.
Their badinage is marvelous. They have eighty
Three different tones for describing the way rain
Looks as it falls upon water, the sea, ponds, lakes,
The rivers, brooks. There is not one that describes
Your coming down the wind. They explode in
Welters of birdsong and squabbling.
All day the sun has refused to look through
The clouds. It had decided to leave the day to
Ducks, swans and the dreams of fish gazing
Toward the sky at the spreading circles of the raindrops,
As if they were a ceiling of water kissing water.
Now it has heard you upon the wind and looks
Through the trees. For a moment the air is draped
In diamonds. They cover you as you roll across
The back of the wind. The air itself inhales.
The rain listens to itself, searching madly for
A language, “Pat, pat, pat”, it says, “Look
Past the wind, look past the wind.” I do.
Two stars caught between
The bottom of the mainsail
And the horizon have begun
To assert their importance.
By following these particular
Refugees from an ancient
Explosion it becomes possible
To find a way to proceed
Through this night, perhaps
Find land, a harbor, food,
Come to understanding something
Never before considered; a music
Unheard previously, filled with
Great sighing and an exquisite
Longing the soul recognizes
As an ancient companion long
Forgotten. Such things as this,
Holding this course, tacking
Back and forth across trackless
Spaces, binding all these poor
Stars, I may even hear your sweet
Voice again in my ears telling me
To trust in this kind of judgment,
Bidding me continue, making even
The shortest of journeys a marvelous
Thing. Walking to the bedroom,
Seeing these two stars outside
The bathroom window, brushing
My teeth, navigating my way to your
Side, anxious to tell you everything.
THE CHILD IN THE FACE OF THE RAIN
Where there is no turning back, where one slip
And the road turns to yellow mud and slides one
Down over the bank into an even yellower creek
That would have no business on the side of any
Road had it not been for this turn of weather.
One is always putting oneself just over the edge
Where there is no sure footing, where what we know
Is not given and where there is no safety but the stars
To give us vistas that one can only obtain by daring
To walk to where they are and further to gaze from
Such privileged heights back toward the poor earth
With its blues and whites and lovely shadows,
Claiming them as our own ideas, as our own
Way of doing things like reaching out our hands,
Placing them around a shoulder or taking another’s
Hand in ours and pretending to be brave until
We actually become so for a few moments.
Oftentimes I do not have the ability to speak of my
Feelings or find myself too much in awe of the distances
The heart can make as our will propels us from moment
To moment and I find myself willing, even eager to find
The cliff edge, the small unknowns that crowd the day.
I force myself upon them as the sailor upon an unknown
Sea, watch those mounting waves surround me and fill
With fears I had not imagined until I found myself in this
Place, at the door about to step into the darkness,
Unable to see past my own step yet willing to risk
It all just to be here, just to try to speak to you,
Just to try to wear the truth as if it were a garment
I had made of fine thoughts, all of them about the world.
The hour of the Angelus.
The shortest day of the year.
The room all but deserted
But for the figure resting
On the bed, not on light depending.
Hail Mary. The grace of sleep
Through her fine bones
Lift her to vision.
Elizabeth in the next room
Hears nothing, but the soft light
Has a music to it.
Be it done unto me according
To Thy word. The language of flowers.
The angel may or may not have
Beautiful wings, may or may not
Be genuflecting next to Mary,
May or may not be whispering,
May or may not be a dreaming,
But the soft light has a music to it.
O res merabilis! Unaque poscimus
Sic nos tu visita, ad lucem quam inhabitas.*
What wonder! We beg of you
That you visit us, the light in which you dwell.)
From today, the nights grow colder—
I sew my tattered robe,
The autumn insects cry.
—Ryokan (trans. from the Japanese by John Stevens)
Our Seed of the Week is All I Want For Christmas...