another poem

For once, hereʹs a piece not also posted on Facebook.

I once took a poetry workshop class to earn an hour or two toward the recertification of my teaching license. The teacher really appreciated this poem—pretty well embarrassing me, proudly, in front of the rest of the class. I had written it not long after coming to Jackson County. Although you can easily see the reflections of some of my reading at the time, I still like it myself, these decades later. And I like how it leaves a question at the end: What happens?

 

Sanctuary

Beastman, me, wandered into
the corntemple,
whoʹd never sen more than meatʹs
cavewall caperings
in magic firelight, preparatory
to the dawnhunt—

amazed by statues, marblesoft
in colored light
liquidheavy in still, dusty air;
holywater pooled,
unplumbed by eye but coolclear,
holographic mirror

of what disturbed and ravaged face,
slapped by timeʹs
embedded swirls. Mother and child,
lovingsorrow chilled,
strange twist upon the hungry spleen,
clasp together there,

stone and history, sublime, redeemed:
Feel terror, drawn,
and turn to find, like a deer dreamed,
wrapped throat to foot,
the one, thintall direct, a nun
appraising savagery

with sapphire eyes. Not the mother
(but like her, true)—
her cornsilk hair and bonenarrow stance,
nervous gaze all light,
she, like a tear, hung tense and fair:
and there the door.

Itʹs another rainy day, but Iʹm being productive today—and looking forward to seeing a former student or three run at a cross-country meet in a couple hours. Now I should get back to the final editing of High Noon at Black Rock, find a program from that show to include in the package, and maybe get it off in the mail yet today.

Commentary

©2009 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.


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