Thursday, December 25, 2008

Readings: A Triptych


The threefold terror of love; a fallen flare
Through the hollow of an ear;
Wings beating about the room;
The terror of all terrors that I bore
The Heavens in my womb.

Had I not found content among the shows
Every common woman knows,
Chimney corner, garden walk,
Or rocky cistern where we tread the clothes
And gather all the talk?

What is this flesh I purchased with my pains,
This fallen star my milk sustains,
This love that makes my heart's blood stop
Or strikes a sudden chill into my bones
And bids my hair stand up?

~ William Butler Yeats


On the domed ceiling God
is thinking:
I made them my joy,
and everything else I created
I made to bless them,
But see what they do!
I know their hearts
and arguments:

"We're descended from
Cain. Evil is nothing new,
so what does it matter now
if we shell the infirmary,
and the well where the fearful
and rash alike must
come for water?"

God thinks Mary into being.
Suspended at the apogee
of the golden dome,
She curls in a brown pod,
and inside her the mind
of Christ, cloaked in blood,
lodges and begins to grow.

~ Jane Kenyon


his costume is scarlet.
he rides the cold wind.
as he passes through the sky
he blots out the star.

his mask glows with neon
and tinsel.
behind it he laughs.
it is droll how we think him so jolly.

his sustenance--slave labor.
"something for nothing"
is his creed: how we listen with glee
as we macy and gimble one another to death.

his obese, slow thighs don't slow him,
for he rides in style, over our heads:
but always away from bethlehem.
oh no, w.b., it will be no sphinx.

~ Rodak (circa 1965)