O Again 8. O Virgo (the other one) O Virgo. O Dike, warning us and fleeing to the hills. O Atargatis, Erigone. (Look it up.) O Spica, Alpha Virginis, Virgo’s grain, not eclipsing, mutually interacting. O Virgo: Silver Earth sign. Could you anyhow be the Mother we hail, still full of grace?
O Again --£…≥÷¢* 7. O Emmanuel (already) O God-with-us in NICU bassinets and nursing homes and truck cabs and warehouses. God-with-us-now on battlefields and bombshelters in churches and congress (even there). God-already-with-us dashing through the snow on city sidewalks in the bleak mid-winter. O. That’s all. Just O. *(cat typing. Why not here, too?)
O Again 5. O Oriens (my favorite) Oriens. O Oriens.* Our Star in the East today rises as far South as she goes. Tomorrow she’ll cross the line to lengthen our days. O Oriens, O Morning Star— Come and enlighten. Sun of Fiery Dawnings— Sun of Rooting Bulbs— Sun of Joyful openings— O Oriens, come. *(Just say it. It does nice things in the mouth.)
O Again 4. O Clavis O Key, O keys. I lost my Irish grandfather’s keys on a sidewalk in the snow. O necklace of skeleton keys. But I have his broken clock, and photos of his children glued in a celluloid box. O keys, lost keys. I was afraid of Opa who spoke Russian and German and Polish but whose English was remote. I have his silver and porcelain wine tray painted with plums. O lost Clavis, O Radix lost.
O AGAIN 3. O Radix (misread) O Root. Before coffee, I read: Root of Jesse standing as a sign among the peonies. Huh. People, not peonies. Had peonies once. Tried to do them in because botrytis blight. They kept sprouting. Radix, root, radish, etc. If you plant a grafted apple tree and bury the graft by mistake, the original takes over. Radical thought.
O AGAIN 2. O Adonai (reversed) Lord of Might. O my, how we crave one. Somebody to fix it all up. Do It Yourself is awful hard work. Giver of Law. So much simpler to follow along. Obey the rules. Do what we’re told. Lord of Might? Jesus. Consider the trees around here: every year they burn and are not consumed.
O Again 1. O Sapienta (Fifty Years later) Holy Wisdom sets things in order. If there is an order to set. If there are indeed things. Moreover, what does it mean to be wise? Premise: Holy Wisdom might show us the path of knowledge. Why would that be a path and how, precisely, might it be revealed? Furthermore, what can be known? O Sapienta: Holy Wisdom. A good night to conceive a philosopher on an unheated waterbed in a cold bedroom. We didn’t have a clue.
Our grandchildren found a baby bird
in the driveway.
What is it?
Where is its Mommy?
In this hazy time
when every little sorrow strikes a blow,
when the news pummels and pounds,
what is Daddy to do with this scrap of life
gasping in his hand?
The mouth of the dark tunnel
has narrowed again.
So many mommies, daddies,
so many lost, so much is lost,
and what sense can we make?
I used to tell myself I was a poet.
It’s a little turkey.
Let’s put it in the long grass by the brook
where sometimes we see them pass.
We’ll put some corn around for them to find.
Now wave bye-bye.
One way or another, this will resolve.
We saw them the next day
he told me. A parade.
Two hens with six poults
and a tom and a hen with one poult
scurrying between them.
The kids agreed that it all worked out fine.
We can tell ourselves stories, can’t we?
They all lived happily. . .
Can’t we tell ourselves stories like that?
Art is one—Oh yes.
We do not dream in vain.
Do not hurry. There is no need.
Tune your fiddle to the canvas,
chisel a marble dance.
Dress your singers in peaches,
and tremble in the shadow of a word.
The arch is wide; the road is wide.
Out doors is all, there is no in.
We who make art bind bone to bone
by sinew after sinew.
We do not dream in vain.
A child crouches
in a sunlit field.
A fighter pilot’s wife can’t sleep.
A new mother cannot walk.
I am a whirlpool—
an eddy of identity
where a complexity
of currents meet.
I am a layer-cake of scars:
Wry neck and fumbly fingers.
Knees marked with gravel.
Nose repelled by the scent of booze.
As the pummeled moon
still glows in our shadow,
I am eclipsed but whole.
I am pleasing to topsoil and stones,
to bears and birds and trees.
I have been released
by every disappointed god.