Sunday, April 18, 2010

poem for April 18

My inspiration today was from Nicholson Baker, "The Anthologist" where he draws lines --
what about an anthology of one-liners? That will be tomorrow's poem.
For today:

inspiration from Sir Walter Raleigh

77. His Pilgrimage

GIVE me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My scrip of joy, immortal diet,
My bottle of salvation,
My gown of glory, hope's true gage; 5
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.

Blood must be my body's balmer;
No other balm will there be given:
Whilst my soul, like quiet palmer,
Travelleth towards the land of heaven; 10
Over the silver mountains,
Where spring the nectar fountains;
There will I kiss
The bowl of bliss;
And drink mine everlasting fill 15
Upon every milken hill.
My soul will be a-dry before;
But, after, it will thirst no more.


-- with a nod to Sir Walter

Repeat all day,
"scallop shell of quiet"
how the music opens and closes
like a dollop of cream, island
belled as eyelet
melting on the coffee
held in a porcelaine cup.

A scallop of quiet,
to remember the gift
of a newborn’s smile,
the don, don, don
of an old churchbelled day
scallop shell of silence
to sharpen ears, shorten the distance,
of pilgrimage to La Compostelle.

St. Jacques and his coquille,
the surprise of oreille,
the French for ear pillowed
in labials purring in the sea.

I don’t want to forget today.
How in the twist before daylight,
A robin was piping to the beat of rain,
how the boy in church
was waving a white rose as if conducting air,
offering it to his sister's nose,
while the sermon spoke about our earth,
How we have failed and are failing
to use imagination failing
to offer a sacred scallop
of connection.

I imagine closeness in the tight folds
of an ear where two kids
Sounds like tickets.
Tickets for two, for talking,
For taking 4 words like
saying 4 words like
scallop shell of silence
called into action:
to scallop
to shell,
to quiet.

-- Kitty Jospé

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