DOUBLE SIGHT

DOUBLE SIGHT

An aberration in my eyeglasses

gives me a tiny bright star next to Venus,

down and to her right, as if

her hand is curled in a fist,

slightly raised.

 

I like to think of Venus

with a fist—a soft

Tai Chi fist with all the strength

of exquisite balance behind it.

Love-and-Beauty smiling a lazy smile,

knowing that hate-and-ugliness

is nothing but a nattering nuisance,

a foolish foe with no notion at all

of her power.

ADVENT, 5

Advent 

5.

           ~John 3:1-21

You have heard the chant,

answered the call,

drunk the water made wine.

All that was yours has been stripped away.

And now you are in a dark room.

Your feet root in the earth,

water rises up to your neck,

and from somewhere, a wind.

You shiver there, alone. 

And when you think 

you might have died,

a light shines in the darkness—

you are surrounded by lamps,

there is a lamp in your hand,

and the circle presses around you

and you are part of the circle,

robed in white.

And no one outside the circle,

and no one outside the room,

is saved.

 

 

ADVENT, 2

ADVENT

2.

     ~John 1: 19-51

 

Where is what is true?

Visions of ladders and lambs and birds,

voices from the desert and the sky.

This is the Kingdom of Metaphor.

You who have no guile—

come and abide awhile.

 

 

 

I have decided to read the Gospel According to John during Advent. It was my favorite gospel until I was in my late 40s, when I decided that it was anti-Semitic (It is–there’s no way around that) esoteric and exclusive, and that it probably has little to do with the actual life of Jesus of Nazareth (very likely true). I’m trying to read it again for the first time in more than twenty years, this time not as theology–it is the most “theological” gospel–but as poetry, written by a 2nd century poet trying to make sense of what Jesus was all about. Let’s see how long I can keep going. . . .

ADVENT, 1

I’m trying for a Poem-a-Day during Advent. Here’s the first:

 

ADVENT

1.

Incomprehensible, 

word made flesh among us—

that which shattered 

to make the worlds

congealed—

light made flesh.

We can not receive

until we turn,

look over our shoulder

to glimpse the shadow

as it turns away.

ALL SAINTS

ALL SAINTS

 

O you obscure, you once-known,

venerated in some small town

where your fingerbone rests

in a tarnished silver box

behind a screen in a dusty church

that smells of old beeswax and must–

What did you do to merit dismemberment,

the naming of this provincial shrine?

Did you cure a child? Make some rain?

Were you martyred by an ignorant prince?

Or did you, perhaps, now and then

arise from your cave when the moon was dim 

and fly over the sleeping houses,

singing an incomprehensible hymn?

MUSIC LESSON

MUSIC LESSON

 

Hafiz, sing with me. Do you play banjo

or hurdy-gurdy? Can you sing in Polish

or Greek? We never sang around the table, 

here in Vermont or anywhere, not even 

in Warsaw when we were all pleasantly drunk

on Jarek’s soul-cleansing vodka. What will 

it take to make us sing? Hafiz, I need 

to know your ecstasy and I can’t drink 

that much anymore and if I spin, I fall 

down dizzy and sick. I’ll have to make do 

with walking while all around me the amber 

ash leaves swirl and the maple trees bleed,

and the memory of a great-horned owl sings

from the pines in the woods across the way.

 

I’ve been rereading the poems of Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky.