New poem: Insomnia

“Although it is night,” from a meditation by St. John of the Cross. Sometimes I don’t sleep, sometimes I stay up too late thinking, thinking I should be reading instead of thinking, so I pick  up a book of religious Irish verse and finid Heaney’s translation of that poem. So I’ll read it, repeat it as I breathe and wonder about the dark night through which I’ve been, the dark night, as Whiman writes, in which a songbird goes on singing.

here, this my is poem.


For A.M.K.

And although it is the night, my eyes are wide,
The rain peeling off the skylight is like the sound of war
In some distant country. Once, my dog’s breathing

Would have been enough, enough for me to close my eyes,
Match up my breath with yours, forget the bodies
That all the bombs have called back into the earth.

But here, your skin is still warm,
And something tells me love would not be
The same without this body, and pain would be transformed,

Death not the release the teenager is waiting for,
Despite the joy. Like the other day, touching lips
But not really kissing, just letting the moment keep the distance in,

Denying the two that become one if the miraculous
God can intervene. And yet, being up against you now
Is the kind of love teasing at that mystery, that the skin,

Even the secret inner tissue, will not permit me enter
The temple of your world, that the heart hiding-dark
In your ribs, stays dark, except maybe to a coroner.

Beloved, when I die, have the surgeon cut out my eyes,
Place them last in the furnace, so that the white flame
Will be the first light I see, although it is the night.

i welcome your thoughts!


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