16 June 2009


in church this week,
charlotte read my poem out
loud as part of the liturgy,

which was, like the poem,
a flawed attempt to describe
the unseen.

“he did not speak to them except in parables.”

it was disconcerting to watch charlotte
take my words by the hand,
and guide them through the church,
one by one, like small children.

in a voice as steady as rain,
she spoke of denial and loss -
how bitter they lie on our tongues –
and redemption.

“they ... may indeed listen, but not understand”

words have meanings - many found in webster’s -
though for poets and prophets there
are always meanings known only to them.
ciphers that beg the listener
to bestow coins of understanding into
their tiny, outstretched hands.

“but he explained everything in private to his disciples.”

“words are not just words,” He must have said to them,
“they have consequences.”
poets already know, and whether prophet or poet,
we will admit, in private at least,
that all poems are, without fail, prayers
beseeching god to restore

what we never had.

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