Monday, September 30, 2013

John Berryman

Last night I read myself to sleep
With John Berryman's "Opus Dei"
("A layman's winter mock-up," as he called it,
Of the Liturgy of the Hours).
I didn't know the man, of course.
He died when I was still a baby.
But speaking as a reader
And as a human being,
I wish he had stuck around,
Not taken that drastic final leap
Onto the icy Minneapolis riverbank.
He'd've written (who knows?) a hundred more Dream Songs,
And a dozen more Addresses to the Lord.
He would have attended Holy Mass,
And snarled perhaps at the dippy homilies.
He'd've been a dad to his young daughter
And a husband to his young wife.
He'd've been open to surprises,
To the pleasant startlements, the bright felicities,
To the unforeseeable turn-arounds,
To the small graces that sustain us
On even the worst of days.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Birthday poem

You are nine years old
Inventive and spontaneous
As wise as the ageless stars
As brilliant as the August sun
As rambunctious as thunder

For nine years you have blessed
Your family and friends with joy and wit
You have delighted the earth with dancing
You have graced the forest lakes with peace
You have greeted the rising sun with poetry

You are nine years old today
Painters and sculptors celebrate your moment
And captains of industry renounce all greed
And politicians stop their bickering
And weatherpeople applaud your laughter
And cosmonauts salute your youthful smile

Have a big slice of happiness today
Because you are turning nine
You are the world's only you
You are one in seven billion one-hundred million
You are as awesome as the waves of the Atlantic

You are shining through the fascinating world
As a single celestial candle giving light

Thicket and Thorp

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