Officium Horarum

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Somewhere someone has said: to go
where it is difficult,
and therefore painful,
and therefore necessary
– this is the office of the poet

Yes, yes: the torment; storm’s wauling
and reel; the intensity we are so willing
to make of suffering (as if it needed more)…

All that.

But what, say you, of the dishes
presently requiring your attention?
What of heat in summer,

plodding, oafish?

You will say: “empty”
You will say: “meaningless”

Just so.

But that is the task,
is it not?

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Generously

Faces
Opening doors
Which they themselves
Are incapable of
Answering:

Not to languish
There, in the wishing
Differently
Or wresting otherwise —

But to abide,
Praising it,
With unclenched hands that
Loosen, like
Sails, upon
The welcoming wind;

And to move freely
Within the guilelessly
Unattainable, content
With how
What flows forth
Generously,
Generously recedes

Upon Spying a Phainopepla


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Night-herald, there you sit,
Poised atop a winnowing tree branch
Pendulating plaintively
In the gloaming breezes

…The color of deepest night,
And drawing all solitude to yourself,
Like the growing shadows
Of this darkening landscape

Ebon polestar of every lonely creature
This night, your sable garments
Conceal the menacing flame in you, flashing

– like spurts of blood –

Out those eyes
And into this heart