Two New Poems 2007


If all the shapes in the world were to
proclaim themselves in the spirit of

devotional usefulness and art and call out or even
whisper to us their functions by God’s will

such as a cleft in a tree that might be a perfect
fork for poking seed-holes in the ground say

or a particular stone to wedge with another
making an impregnable wall or stable stairway

and even clouds passing in the sky forming and
reforming to recite the age-old epics of Nimbus and Cirrus

or rushing water not only providing turbine
power but also singing all the ongoing

songs in the Fluvial Odes Collection in
variable currents and liquid refrains of rills and cascades

But the scales on our eyes and ears must fall
to hear and see these divine signs and indications

and their innermost choirs to become apparent to us
to whose repeated choruses our own quavering

voices may join and we then be able to pick up
exactly that perfect bamboo shoot of perfect size

and from it make that particular flute of perfect
pitch to call out into the living spiral of the whole

the underlying harmonies of His
perfect Names



A tiny little boat the size of an eyelash
filled with tiny little passengers

bobbed on the shore of the eyelid as the
tiny little passengers boarded

It was winter and a full moon cast its
luminous disk on the waters

And voluminous fish gathered under the surface
at the boat’s commotion

The skipper was ebony black and the
shipmates from faraway islands

and the passengers now filing along the
microscopic gangplank were ghosts

It was a ship bound for Singapore or as
close to Singapore as possible

though “bound to Singalong” might do as
well in this meandering ballad

The hold of this tiny little boat was
filled to capacity

with rare silks and casks of silver
jewels more iridescent than the moonlit crescents

and documents and vellum-bound books
maps of places no one had yet discovered

costly garments encrusted with pearls
hats woven in Mongolian marketplaces

and none of the things were any bigger than
an atom and some were considerably smaller

But they were going to Singapore to sell
and barter for salt more precious than any treasure

It’s an old story told better elsewhere by better tellers
the trade of sumptuousness for simplicity

But simplicity without which we’d
curl up and die salt more precious than pearls

whereas with diamond rings or cascading
necklaces we live only as long as God will have us

though both sumptuous and simple are in His hands
so the boat bobbed and the passengers

boarded and the sailors squinted in the
weird wobbling moonlight

and high adventure awaited all of them
until I happened to blink and

washed them all away forever

1/6/2007 (from Invention of the Wheel)

Categories: Poems