In a little room I mark the turn of season
but with hardness in my heart do not regret;
'Repent your sins,' will whisper Christian reason
but stubborn human passion says, 'Not yet.'
Moses turned to blood the Nile waters;
at the power of the Lord, the great god bled;
but with the blood from Adam's sons and daughters
you'll never turn the Mississippi red.
I lost my lover to sudden plague of heartache,
with murder in my soul and stone in hand;
friend, 'ware the storm unleashed by heart's break
ere it ends with blood upon the sand.
The river Jordan washes out all evil
but the Mississippi hides the sign of crime;
friend, fear the whispers of the devil,
for every sin will show its face in time.
It took long years before her bloated body
broke free from stone and floated to the shore.
The respites of this world are short and gaudy
but hell, they say, will last forevermore.
The Great Art
In the beginning, the poet breathes upon the deep,
inspiration and expiration in the darkness;
then light shines through him, borne of the muse,
dividing the creative splendor from dark memory.
The mind leaps to the ends of the cosmos,
an order precipitates out of chaos.
Then comes the building, the unifying frame,
an overarching idea spreading like a firmament,
dividing thought from thought and word from word
so that there is order in the flow of water to water,
the sea and the rain relieved of confusion,
brought into pattern by pillar and sky-column.
Then in the materials structure is gathered,
made to be rigid in layer and in grade,
the good, solid ground on which may be planted
the flowers of figure and the blooms of poesy,
metaphor yielding metaphor after its kind,
a jungle-profusion well-rooted is thus crafted.
As the material flowers, the themes are adorned and made fair,
a pattern of thought beyond any flower-field,
like blooming sun the central truth grows bright,
like a meadow of stars the lesser truths are born;
eternity shines through this temporal wall;
through patterned theme is manifested what exceeds words.
Allusions and references populate the context,
meaning beyond meaning on the edges now creep,
winging beneath the themes, swimming in the deeps,
multiplying without end, as is their destiny,
blessed with a power of perpetual life,
an explosion of vitality both hidden and great,
bringing an ever-new surge of goodness.
The order is crowned as the poem is completed,
the perfection is crafted to finish the cosmos,
and like an instrument the whole proceeds,
as all is made one and the title is placed,
definitely giving direction to the forms and the flowers,
that the poem may meet the reader face to face.
Thus is finished the poem and all of its furnishing,
thus ends the poet's blazing with fire;
now there must follow the rest of the sabbath,
as expression is absorbed into peace and silence.
The poet looks forth, and lo! it is good,
and in the morning coolness he walks in verse gardens.