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Friday, March 27, 2015

Father Branigan's Rhyme

It's after nine. The time for prayer,
The time for sleep, draw quickly near.
And though the drizzle-drops still fall,
I do not feel displeased at all.

The whispery lisp outside my screen
Of shadowy leaves no longer green
Answers the soft and slushy strain
Of tires that drive upon the rain.

Nettled by several petty sins
As customary rest begins,
May my soul be, till dawn come round,
In night's deep absolution drowned.

Tomorrow let me face the day
Eager to work and ready to play.
Let beak of bird and mouth of me
Exalt the Blessed Trinity.

When sunlight starts to wake and warm
Our peccant vale, let me perform
Fresh mercies; let me gladly labour
To praise my God and love my neighbour.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Perfection

Give me the poets of the second rank!
(Perfection scares me witless, to be frank.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Franconia, 1985

Begin with the object,
said Dartmouth's Professor Cook to me
after his lecture-and-reading
at Franconia's Frost Place.
I was just sixteen.

Begin with the object?
I was buzzed on Dylan Thomas,
drunk on the sound of the word,
so I was discouraged, a bit,
by what seemed prosaic advice --

but heartened, a few moments later,
when the sagacious academician
of bald brown head and black beard turning white
proffered the compliment:
You ask the right questions!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Poem at Dawn

Be still, and let
morning happen.

Let dark blue foredawn
brighten into day.

Let traffic occur,
let coffee be made.

Let mind be lively,
let eyes awake
to many newnesses.

Let commerce begin,
and contemplation.

Let the gravestones
of Mount Pleasant Cemetery
whiten in the rising light.

And though it is still
technically winter,
let the tender flower
of this young moment
unfold and open
to the fullness of spring.

Let the shrinking patches
of tired old snow
trickle away into yester,
into ago.

Let the bare branches of March,
let the birds of Mrs Álvarez,
let my own heart and soul
give thanks and give thanks.

A Young Woman of Boston

Elegant as pi to the hundredth decimal, beautiful as a quadratic equation, close as Cambodia, distant as winter, precise and mathematica...