May 23, 2011

Most Prayers Are The Words We Say When We Are Tired Of Feeling

From The River and the Train by Edwin Brock, first published by New Directions in 1979:

Love poem

Listen, I can tell you this:
I do not know how love grows
until it is mourning,
making a measure 
I can understand

most love poems are written
far away from love and out of 
loneliness, most of life is spent
in a chair in the corner of a room

remember the young days when our blood
boiled and we believed it was our souls talking?
now my soul talks to itself in the beeches
believing it is a screech owl.

Listen, I can tell you this:
I do not know how God knows
about our misunderstanding: today
there is a small rat at the river's edge
with its severed head a foot away

most prayers are the words 
we say when we are tired of 
feeling, most words are the sounds
we are trying on for size

remember the nights we knelt and asked
that our souls depart in peace?
today I believe I am immortal only
because my mortality has atrophied.

Listen, I believe we are the festival
of a harvest which is over-ripe
and rotting, I believe all we have grown
is stinking in the market place

I don't know what a soul does
lost in hibernation, but I have heard
my own in the beeches sounding like a screech owl
looking for a mouse to fill
before it feathers down to kill it.

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