Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Birdcage Sonnet

I've meant to own a bird since I was ten;
small-boned, chestnut red, bright-golden-beaked. Instead,
I bought the cage. Its resting empty now
upon my shelf: flat-backed, byzantine-domed;
like a minature cathedral, with black wire frame
instead of stone. No angelic warbling echoes
from its lower mesh, no clang of bird-bell bursts
from thin rafters. Its empty. Completely.
Except this morning as I watched, the light
flew in the open blinds and quickly came
to the cages side: it paused, and peeked its bright
gold beak inside. Breathed once. Then, with joy,
pressed sunspark feathers against the bars, splitting,
slipping through, a thousand luminous fragments, filling.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Need to Grow

Sometimes two plants will spring from the soil
simultaneously - held under for various unrelated
reasons. Always a reason to it. But, now, sprung
seemingly, together, in the juvesence of the year
at the heels of the Tiger-Christ prowling through the garden.
He sinks on his haunches, pauses, then leaps
and you and I caught the motion from beneath
the shallow lids of our graves. Caught the breath,
and leapt up, tipping tiny pallid green tongues
out into the Light timidly. Soon, though, the Light commands
us forth from our graves, and we slowly wriggle
from cadaverous sheaths, shaking off the death-rags
gladly, though with a bit of timidity, a little trepidation -
fear & trembling, as it says. It was right.
But the Light shouts "Come forth, damnit!"
Which snaps the last frail bone of fear,
and the sky opens up so large and clear
above us that we cannot help but cry out in mad laughter
and burst from the ground like dead men rising,
all green and lively, ruddy flavor licking back
into shoddy limbs, new green shoots darting out in the place
of rotten, missing fingertips. Must we die our whole lives?
No - there is a chance for new light always.
We know this in our bones - and poetry
spoken from the marbled lips of God on High
shakes us constantly, flinging out old cataracted eyes
so that hard pearlescent stones can roll out, brilliant
with new light, spawned not in the heart of any man,
but masterfully forged by the Spirit of God himself
within the husk of these very heads, these shaggy
red-brown heads, splotched and knobbed, that he Has given us.
This of course, since we have sprung together
close-alinged, is where I lean to kiss you, and why.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Poets Purpose

Recently a friend asked me why I write. "What need does it fill?" He asked.
All of my years have passed in relative quietness. I have never had a life of burning and pillaging; of running out into the street and taking what is mine. I have never been one to stir up, by force, the bitter soup. I have never been extremely articulate - my metaphors have never been precise, like knife-tips, poking readers through new holes in the fabric of understanding. We all stand about, including myself, with hands limp at our sides, wondering at the gravity, beauty, and simplicity of life. I have made a few small ticks of the pencil in my journals about such things. I have forgotten them all in time.
Why am I here now, in a coffee shop, pressing my spirit outward to that distant island shore - over many waters that most wont even acknowledge as existent? Can some men exist solely to be beautiful to a few? For beauties sake? Must all beautiful fruit have a bite, have a poison center, that shakes the lover into death throes of pleasure? I don't want to kill or to die quite so hotly. "Rage, rage, against the dying of the light"? Why? Can a man who trusts God simply enjoy a few people - kiss the foreheads of a few people, throw a few homing pigeons into the evening sky, and try not to let the blink of fear cloud his faith in the light?
Why am I here? Why have I spent the last few hours writing and reading poetry? Poetry says what I say "The world is beautiful, and we are all going to die". This is the song of poetry. I feel it now in my stomach, in my eyes, in my groin. It is joy and pain.
Christ says "Come follow me, all you who are weary of flailing about in the dark, looking for light. For my yoke is easy. My burden is light - pure beams of evening light, cut, swathed in white fabric, lifted lightly onto his shoulders by the red birds of faith.
All of my poetry is spilling into these paragraphs that no one might read.
Is it okay? Lord, show us hopelessness, again, and show us the brightness of the hope that you've offered to us.
Find us, as Ezekiel says, flailing in our own blood, and teach us to grow.