Poets’ Corner

The bite.

The bite. That one bite. That defiant crunch —“Oh God!” She begg’d as knowledge ravish’d her.That old cliché that ignorance is blissWas in this act conceiv’d, but none can know —Not really — know how knowledge felt at firstTo pure primeval innocence of mind. She knew the tree bore knowledge by its name.She knew its…

Fourth of July

The streetlights flicker, set to hummingLike mosquitoes in the amber nightOf tree frogs and fireworks, unforked lightning,Spine-tickling rivulets of sweat. This is the stuff, I think, this the life  I recall from my youth by the ocean,  Days of marsh grass and the sun’s gold-leaf,Heinekens, Merits, the soulful motion Of lights across the bay. A couple thereSits…

Godric of Finchale as a Thorn Tree

Homage to Frederick Buechner The thorn was bronze and wonderful to see,Though no one’s safe around such scimitars That escalade against the very sky. Yet scimitar by scimitar it rose,And being made so barbed and barbarous, Perhaps it meant no harm but harmed by chance. Woodcutters could have axed and hacked the treeTo toss a greenwood crackle…

Afternoon

The sparrow that can fly against such windDeserves a spot in memory’s museum.  Likewise the sunbeams on the bedroom blind,Slanted just so, a light preserved from autumn,Intruding its chill upon mid-June.As school lets out for good, I hear the cheeringOver rooftops of the kids at noonSet loose through double doors and spinningLike struck marbles, and…

Pentecost

God’s hov’ring Breath above the deepDrew from the new-created crustThe brush, the fruit which men would reap,And heads of wheat whose upward thrustsSprout grain for baking into loaves. Then like a mighty, rushing gustThe Spirit filled Christ’s Brother-BandWhose language left the men of dustTo marvel as God’s second HandStretched o’er the field that Peter sowed,…

The Slumbering Host and the Fortunes of Poetry

I am not a poet. As most of my peers in undergrad— in possession of richer emotional timbres or more complex childhoods— filed into the creative track of my Christian alma mater’s English major, I plodded along in the ‘literature’ or critical track. I dutifully read old poetry. The Anglican tradition in poetry was a…

Red Trillium

Sanguine clot on an altar of white,singular or sparse clustered, drippedas from a painter’s brush, smudgedblood print against a vernal shroud, tripartite leafed, yellow exclamations hold its center.Wakerobin, birth-ease, red eye amidstthe common trillium, by what mythis your incongruity clarified or entered but by a woman conjured to a fleeing doe,a hunter’s arrow in her…

All Our Yesterdays

Time’s arrow from the past is launched With a force no bodkin may resist,And we have found eternal youthElusive too, the alchemiesAnd fountains long discredited.  Yet immortality we have devisedTo preserve an endless, shining summer—To preserve them all, intact and whole,Not memories, but lived as new. Martin Crowe has died today, In middle-age—the cancer stoleWhat hair…

Geoffrey Chaucer Speaks of Julian of Norwich

Beside the saintly woman of Norwich, an anchorite without pretense, a prophet of startling revelations, my Wife of Bath and Madame Eglantine, my courteous knight and squire do pale. Confessor to many, her wisdom shared beside the river through embroidered scrim— I wonder: what if I met her before my tales were spawned, my pen…

Every Morning He Hallowed Himself

While still a student, wandering abroad     But lodged in Dublin for the summer, I     Would pass, each day, through King Street with a sigh Dismissing all I couldn’t afford as fraud, And turn, at the butt-end of Grafton Street     To join the host of tourists on their way Beneath the Fusilier’s arch,…

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