blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Canticle for the Second Sunday in Lent

To be the son of a poet is to lust in a great circle. Places both of you will
            visit, for instance—Iowa cornfield, New England farm midwinter.
            A mill-race. Plaque for the bell factory hidden now

By upthrust suspension, spray from which flow freezes even gravity's steady
            ictus, compressing this river into a held note. Somewhere nearby
            a clock ticks

But not loudly. One draws a breath, holds it in the pale hour between delight
            and grief aware of genetic precomposition, the chest's scripted rise
            and fall. The idea that history

Is more than the sum of component parts glosses pain with sentiment, yet we
            do it all the time, sitting together with friends after the roof's caved in.
            Bitter words from the beloved—

A wild complaint, as in the Donal Og with its impossibilities and smooth-
            stripped compass rose: It was a bad time she took for telling me that;
            it was shutting the door after the house was robbed. . . .

There is the lament, and then the assignation; shocks of ice piling up in the
            lee of the dam, and voice plucked knife-edged from a chill breeze.
            In the fable those children and that livestock

Were replaced, not restored, two different things. This evening the sky leaves
            wind-knots tied in your footsteps, bits of string and grass blown up
            from some uncovered place.

No longer a scrawl. In which some letters may not be spoken. You write
            around them as on the rim of a wheel revolving slowly to the rhythm
            of sleet against a kitchen window,

Promising nothing this time: no ships, no towns, no seaside courts. Only the
            tannin-dark water you came from. And the green fields in the high
            passes to which you will go.  

for Geoff Brock

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