(The second is based on a rare version of the apocryphal Psalm 151.)
Elusive is the vale,
an evening-colored petal
quivering in violet breezes.
The moon is full tonight
over fireflies in the air,
drunken stars in inky darkness,
iridescence on the petal.
A Song of David
Less was I than all my brothers,
youngest of my father's sons,
a simple shepherd of the flock,
a ruler of kids and goats.
I fashioned from the reed a pipe;
my fingers shaped a fair harp;
thus gave I glory to the Lord.
The mountains cannot tell Him.
The hills cannot proclaim His Name.
Take up my words, tall-topped trees,
sing my melodies, baaing sheep.
Who will else declare or speak?
The Lord our God has seen all things;
our God gives His attention.
He sent His anointing prophet:
Samuel came to grace me.
My brothers went out to meet him,
handsome-formed and handsome-faced.
They were tall and their hair was thick,
but God did not make them kings.
He fetched me from behind the flock,
anointed me with pure oil,
and made me prince of His people,
ruler in his covenant.
Birds Hunting Crickets
The sky is so blue you could dive right in and swim,
the sun so bright that it burns like hidden sin,
the breeze so cool upon harsh, sunburned skin;
I'd give a penny for your thoughts,
but you're probably thinking of him,
so instead I'll muse on truth and rule of law
and watch birds hunting crickets outside the coffee shop.
The Moon Sang Soprano
The moon sang soprano to the bass of the sea:
The fish danced in schools and pavaned ecstasy
As the waves crashed the shore with a drum-beaten bliss
That was voiced by a deep and unending abyss.
The tide measured time and the waves measured shore
As the song like a chorus resounded the more;
The moon sang its light, and that moonlight was borne
By the weight of the sea in the sound of its horn.
The stars fell down; we felt
the light shift vivid red
and somewhere in Orion's belt
you fell down dead.
Your dreams whispered in ears
not made to hear your song,
beyond their sundry fears;
they sullied face and name
with thoughts good sense would quell,
like moth to nova-flame,
like unfound souls to hell;
still you stood, stood still,
unchanged by the changing winds,
a quiet rill
opposing rushing tides of men.
All stars fail; in sharp light
they will forever fall
into eternal night,
that deepest night that conquers all;
and all too soon.
Your words ring in our heads.
Beneath some strange and weirding moon
your spirit fled.
The hollow-laden willow waves the leaflets of its limbs
in winds that whip around it through the shadowed evendim;
my heart is hale and singing with a hymn of hope and praise,
a hymn of hope and praise that I have learned from summer rain,
a healing psalm so soulful that it saves from fear and pain
and lengthens out like prayer all the wonders of my days.
With the waving of the willow I with spirit rise and sway
as the raindrops, kissed by moonlight, on my eyelids leap and play.