Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Two Poem Re-Drafts

In the Dark and Dead of Night

In the dark and dead of night
I feel your glory still inside;
through the sorrow and the pain
I see your rainbow in the rain;
and as the wind moves through the leaves
your Holy Spirit moves through me:
though darkness draws each day to close
your light shines on the blooded rose.

In all death, in dark despair,
I turn around and you are there;
through the shadows in my soul
your glory shines undimmed and whole;
and as the wind moves through the leaves
your Holy Spirit moves through me:
though harm should come, and threat of war,
salvation's hope still lies in store.

In the storm that rises high,
like lightning bursts your Presence nigh;
through the wilderness and fight
you, the pole star, give your light;
and as the wind moves through the leaves
your Holy Spirit moves through me:
though trouble strikes and I must roam
and death will come, you draw me home.

Aridity and Consolation

I walked one day, a wanderer amid the trees,
singing out a song, the sun now hid from view
but hot the air, no whisper in the leaves
nor breeze to blow like balm to heal heat's wounds.
Then came I on a course that cut through stone,
once water-widened as it wandered home,
now dry with dust, undamp, like ancient bone,
yet remembering moisture, mists of long ago.

It seemed I saw then in this silent wood
a phoenix, fireborn, that flew from bough to bough,
seeking the stream long slain by drought of old.
Coming to the course, it cried so soft and low
angels could but weep and echo it in dreams;
my hearing had hardly found its heaven in those strains
when the phoenix died by that drought-devoured stream
and lightly fell, finished, its fire stripped of glow.

Then, highing like a herald, a hind of silver-white
bounded up with bitter haste, pursued by baying hounds,
It vaulted, forceful-valiant, like silver moon in light,
leaping beneath the laurel, whose leaves were on it crowned.
It was taken by the dogs, it died and knew no more,
and, broken in its bone, its blood on forest floor,
it sank like sunset, thrice solemn in its woe,
a late moon: once alive, it at last was overthrown.

Then I wept. From my eyes the water fled in grief;
it bore the salt of sorrow, the sadness of my pain,
in rivers overflowing ruined, rained upon the leaves,
as mightily I mourned that the marvels I had seen
should die their death, no dawn at all in sight.
Overcome, I cried at the coming of the night.
With breath embittered, I broke with sob and sigh:
my ache, a yearning to recover, alone remained.

But wait! one whisper whistled in the trees,
rose and rushed and roared with living force;
a wave, as in war an army like the seas
will arm and rise, did water again the course,
a pouring-out with power like thundering clouds of rain;
from furthest foreign-land some fountain broke again,
as though the God of glory with grace, or even whim,
compassionate for the creek, created a new source.

First there broke a flood; then flame did burst to light
as, fire all around it, the phoenix winged in gold
rose in ruddy glory with rays that blinded sight,
winging up to heaven, the highest of high roads,
scion of the sun, with shining in its wings,
so holy in its egress as to humble we who sin,
bring penitent to prayer, spark seraphim to sing,
more radiant its rising than sunlight red and bold.

Blood slowly dripped to pools from the dying hind.
With flood and flame it mingled, was forcefully imbued
with volumes of flowing fire, embracing as in kind
the conquered carcass and, covering it with blood,
woke it to new life, washed all weariness away,
and death undid, as night undone by day.
Then, leaping into life, litheful in its play,
the hind, silver flash, sped, shot, through primal wood.

The flood, I saw, was faith; the phoenix charity;
the hind was hope, the herald of new life;
and I saw with seeing vision and flux of ecstasy
that saved souls are sundered, made to die,
brought to solemn burial to be born anew.
Hearts grow old and ancient; to awful death they go,
but then a cycle starts, like this shadow of the true:
our hearts, renewed with life, leap to taste the light.

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