|Graham Ward, "Angel Entering a City"|
Pilfered from Clive Hicks-Jenkins's Artlog--
thank you, Graham and Clive!
It is the last of Advent, and what a strange time it has been! Beautiful, lucky things have happened--heartfelt letters from writers I respect and homecomings and unforgettable hours. My children are all in the nest, and we are five again. One deeply sad thing has happened--a friend, self-slain--that reminds me of our great human hunger for love and mercy, now and always.
Today is Christmas Eve, and there is much to birth before the day is done. Greetings to you and a merry Christmas to you and wishes for that ever-desired love and mercy to follow you all the days of the coming year.
Attributions: The painting by Graham Ward has already been shared by my friend Clive on his Artlog. I picked it in honor of the now-underway collaboration I'm doing with Graham, to be finished by June in time for an opening. Original source for poem: http://qarrtsiluni.com/2011/11/16/i-heard-their-wings-like-the-sound-of-many-waters/#comments Forthcoming in The Foliate Head (UK: Stanza Press.) Thanks to editors Dave Bonta and Beth Adams for nominating the poem for a Pushcart Prize. Thanks to issue editors Fiona Robyn and Kaspalita for their long work of editing.
“I HEARD THEIR WINGS LIKE THE SOUND OF MANY WATERS”
In the dark, in the deeps of the night that are
Crevasses of a sea, I heard their wings.
I heard the trickling of tiny feathers
With their hairs out like milkweed parachutes
Floating idly on the summer air,
I heard the curl and splash, the thunderbolts
Of pinions, the rapids and rattle of shafts—
Heard Niagara sweep the barreled woman
And shove her under water for three days,
I heard a jar of fragrance spill its waves
As a lone figure poured out all she could,
Heard the sky’s bronze-colored raindrops scatter
On corrugated roofs and tops of wells,
I heard the water-devil whirligigs,
I heard an awesome silence when the wings
Held still, upright as flowers in a vase,
And when I turned to see why they had stilled,
Then what I saw was likenesses to star
Imprisoned in a form of marble flesh,
With a face like lightning-fires and aura
Trembling like a rainbow on the shoulders,
But all the else I saw was unlikeness
That bent me like a bow until my brow
Was pressed against the minerals of earth,
And when I gasped at air, I tasted gold.