Skip to main content
  1. Poems/

To the Chief Singer, On My Stringed Instruments

Through fire I choke to raise in song
orisons from a burning crux;
Through smoke I aspire to sense, up
helical stairways, firmer touch.

Earth’s heft I press against to leave
constraints of weight below, &
heave my thin soul heaven-ward
into austerer circlings.

Earth’s heft I press against to leave
fadeable impressions of my soul
stamped here, on flesh, because
I know no other place for love.

Nature embroiders with debris and
graves our bloom with its undoing;
entropic floræ of the spring cannot
restring the nerves’ route to outpace
our saving fears with gentlenesse.

Nature embroiders with debris in
me, dissonating skin from thought,
yet I must hold the loosenings
stringently, as in a crystal fugue,
to resonate with your arrival.

Restring my mind: a web whose song
I muffle, hungry, perched at center.
Nail our cords from agues to ægis: a
green guitar to play the tensions out.

Except the grain delves into earth and
dies, it is itself—alone; but if it dies
it brings forth unimaginable fruit.
Nail me through myself and into
soil, changed. Selah.

Through vague meridians I must come,
restrung beyond poles of yes or no
until my brittle, wandering will be
made into your music, sacrificed.

Except in others, I can never sing, so
nail me to my enemy; his voice
through my own lips articulating