15 June 2014

Strangers in the lush province of joy

              CLEAR NIGHT

Clear night, thumb-top of a moon, a back-lit sky.
Moon-fingers lay down their same routine
On the side deck and the threshold, the white keys and the black keys.
Bird hush and bird song. A cassia flower falls.
I want to be bruised by God.
I want to be strung up in a strong light and singled out.
I want to be stretched, like music wrung from a dropped seed.
I want to be entered and picked clean.
And the wind says “What?” to me.
And the castor beans, with their little earrings of death, say “What?” to me.
And the stars start out on their cold slide through the dark.
And the gears notch and the engines wheel.

Charles Wright, “Clear Night” from Country Music: Selected Early Poems. 1982.

Lead us to those we are waiting for, 
Those who are waiting for us.
May your wings protect us,
                                            may we not be strangers in the lush province of joy.
Remember us who are weak.
You who are strong in your country which lies beyond the thunder,
Raphael, angel of happy meeting,
                                                      resplendent, hawk of the light. 

All things in the end are bittersweet—
An empty gaze, a little way-station just beyond silence.
If you can’t delight in the everyday,
                                                         you have no future here.
And if you can, no future either.
And time, black dog, will sniff you out,
                                                            and lick your lean cheeks,
And lie down beside you—warm, real close—and will not move.


Comfort them all, Lord, comfort their odd shapes                                         
                                                                              and their standard hair.
They seem so hand-haunted, so hymn-hewn,
In their slow drift toward received form.
Comfort them standing there,
                                                then comfort them sitting down—
God knows his own, the old have no tears,
The thickness of winter clouds is the thickness of what’s to come.  

Charles Wright, Sestets. 2009.

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