Saturday, August 23, 2008

For the Storybook


What I Should Have Done


I should have cut a hole in the ceiling
to let my prayers out, words
like smoke from incense pots,
unable to rise above that bloody altar.
Look: here is where you should have slept,
your ear only an inch above my heart.
See: this field of stars above the watchtower
that we might have counted, bye and bye.

Now the sky is full of dark matter,
and though I were rich as Herod,
the baby-killer of Bethlehem,
(who was richer than Caesar), I can
not get you back, even though
I would rub salt upon your infant body
and powder you with mustard seeds,
and wrap you up with swaddling bands
embroidered with your genealogies.

Here is the singing bird I'd give you,
the pony, here the toy soldiers,
their cannons in flames.
Here angels play, out of sight
lest they terrify us, though we lie
prostrate, trembling on the ground,
we eaters of entrails, we breaker of bones.
The first to bring an offering
and the first to be offered,
like a burning ram, I continue
to follow your lead

like Nahshon followed Moses, loving him
too much, walking out before him into the sea,
walking out until the water was
all the way up to his nose
before the sea finally parted.


(Another poem written for Rick Mobbs awesome artwork. I wanted to indent the italics a little, but it didn't work out that way. Oh, well. Thank you, Rick, and next time I am going to concentrate on writing something shorter!)

6 comments:

Jo said...

wow, this is very moving.....I love how you respond to his work

paisley said...

you have an affinity with ricks work.. you seem to become part of it,, or it a part of you... this is an amazing poem,, and a thrilling story...

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

Absolutely beautiful, Joyce!

Pam said...

Your work always touches me, you have a way with words that is remarkable. I come by here often even though I don't always comment.

I absolutely love your Obama banner !

Jo said...

Awesome Joyce, you sure have a way with images. :)

rick said...

Broadus and I poured a little bit of everything into this one, which is about eight feet long and painted on paper. I underestimated it, taking it as play. Until the poets got hold of it and shook the words out. thank you, this is marvelous and a little sad, like life and death and all the best writing.