Monday, December 5, 2011

Prayer, by James Armstrong

Hello Poets,
James Armstrong lived for a year in the middle of Lake Superior ("the blue that looks through us") at Isle Royale National Park.
I imagine him waking up on a winter morning to the emptiness and a wild beating heart. 


If we don’t believe in heaven, who reads the letters we mail there
      every evening?
Children send most of them, kneeling by the bedpost
imagining the universe under the care of a father
who rumbles behind the newspaper
smelling of cigarettes and Old Spice.
To grow up is to lose one’s God at sea –
better to lose one than be one.
If you believe the world is perfect,
think of Keats dying young.
I never would have seen it if I hadn’t believed it,
the saying goes. Somebody has to awaken us
to the time of day it is when the earth is empty
of any intention, or any human presence.

And yet it is noon, and here you are – your blue headlands
and swords, your wave-moistened silences.
As if at the heart of things
there were a heart.

by James Armstrong, from Blue Lash, 2006

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