The Insomnia of Hildegard of Bingen

Return to me, cleft
of living light, scissure
in darkness, fierce,
scotomic rain of haloed sparks
and extinguished stars,
whose pain is my familiar,
my purpose, my assurance of salvation.
Gone from me is she
who, in my ordeal, put the damp pearls
of her fingertips to my temples,
and saw in these ecstatic
visions less an obliteration
of my self, and more a kind
of kunst, a matter of my art,
and of preparedness for the pure,
searing reality of suffering
and of love that is divine.
My eyes open now onto hell's
dull and unrelenting shadow—
but also I see her as in the dawn,
glowing and adorned with virtues
and as she appeared, once, in my chamber,
when she could not speak, and I calmed
with the lace of spanned hands
her throat's small and flustered vessel
until she was not silent.
Am I not God's mouthpiece?
Or am I nothing more than tithed daughter,
last rites read at my beginning?
Melisma of bodiless light,
I beg you: besiege my flesh,
free my heart—lift my sorrow
and my remembrance—
make room of me once more.