The Coarse and The Divine
Here, a filament
too thin to be green
stands up on a cane of slow silent water
from under warm dirt.
Here, under the sun,
is a Radish Plant.
Radishes are good with salt.
I learned this kneeling
at garden’s edge with my dad
while a knife and a saltshaker lay in the grass.
The sun was too warm, the air too cool…
My problem is, small pleasures I’ve had
seem to me intimations of thunderous hidden glories,
suggesting more than do these cruel
twists of fate in important literary stories.
I’m neither artist nor critic, I know. But –
where have I not been
There was a place where one thing flowed into another.
While we were there, the warm night
began dispensing light, our mother
lighting candles on Nativity’s Eve.
Under a stone roof
(an old masonry dome)
a rock wall
enclosed an earthy big bowl
cradling a houseful of freezing spring water.
The roof was the beginning of wonders:
through the gapes we could see galaxies;
where it was still solid we could see
the flickering dreams stone heavens have of the waters beneath.
The water slid out through a rusted grate
into what promised to be a pond.
Already giddy, we ran
out the door,
up the path,
and saw a corridor of water
laid beneath heavens not of stone.
So little a length of water
passed down to the muttering silverwood bridge
So vast a space of black heaven hovered
between either ridge.
We arrived and a marriage caught fire:
The deep divine took a terrestial bride
The deep pool lit with her lover inside;
Nay, we saw a blessed lady glide
down to where air and water collide
and just at the spot we could point to and murmur
a shadowlord bowed and undid her.
Just then. For without our bridesmaid eyes
the heavens could only gaze down in desire
the pond gaze up in dim surmise,
with the chaperone atmosphere between,
their affinity only a sheen.
It’s standing and staring
I recall ,
Hands spread, heart stopped,
My face in a pall…
Oh, I’ve been silly and wicked
And once a boy I admired walked behind me,
which made me trip and fall.
Down the stairs.
It was tragic.
I am troubled by one quandary:
What can other people do
who’ve never indulged in the coarsest rapture,
never seen holiness in a state of nature?
Silently: (“What is that to you?
You, follow me.”)