In Praise of Forgetfulness
A patterned absence: shadow leaves on snow,
A strain of music on the wind, a wisp
Of something in my mouth. The subtle gifts
Are given in his place, and somehow known
As traces, tracks left by the animal,
Who, great as men are great, would naturally
Impress himself on his surroundings, we
Reason, not willing to admit that all
The tears aside, a door will be a door
Without his heavy knock, a book will be
A book without his voice. The way we see
Him missing in the kitchen’s dirty floor
Persists, as dirt persists, but then again
Did not the dirt itself once pass—to man?
The Birdmen Lose Their Wings
It was difficult at first without the wings,
The feeling was all off, the balance wrong
As if we’d lost the tunes to all our songs
But something still impelled us all to sing.
We leapt off cliffs and balconies and dropped
Like stones in water through our native air,
Then higher, higher climbed, high as we dared,
Till even the most desperate had to stop.
We walked for several days on bloody feet,
Like animals, all shackled to the earth
Back packed with all the others lame from birth.
Till drawn by some starred piper to the sea,
We dreaming limped through dark awaiting night
And plunged into the cool, deep, secret flight.
After the Ascension
Angel: Why stand you staring after him?
He’s gone but he will soon return again,
And you will drown in floods of glory when
He rends the earth’s thin veil, but do not swim,
Inhale. Yet while you breathe stale air, I say:
Do not forget what wonder round about
Enshrines your dry dust path. Soon you will doubt,
It will be long, you will not know the way
But do not be so foolish as to think
That dust is dust, and not the stuff God’s hands
Made into you, that man is only man,
And not the image of the great unseen.
So now go forth, shake temples, shudder kings.
Go forth! Your world must shatter ere it sings.