The Chapter House

Tonight the sky is a dark lawn
Where sheepish stars follow the grazing moon
While we chorus a plainsong of places, dates and numbers.
We are human.
We grow tired.
(For dates we say, the past, history.
For numbers we say, many, too many.)
In here, silence grows.
“And he went up to the mountain, alone, to pray.”
Outside raindrops drop.
Plop, plop, plopping;
On puddles – shivering the skin.
Praying.
Pock-marking the wet face of the world;
Bright, beautiful once-dead stars quiver
Shivering singing;
Moths dance on airy floors,
Waltzing with the lifting light
They fall to earth and green hills swell,
Rise and swell, far away.
In truth, how can we tell the dancer from the dance?
Out of such a cold house
This … thing … is born
From the stronghold
Of such inscrutability
Of such quietness the
Essence of fragility
The embodiment of love
Tells all – so that,
For a moment
In its fluidity,
In its rightness,
All strangeness is forgotten:
The songs and the dances
The man and the flute players
The music and the magic
The joy and the songs and the dancing
The marriage of heart and head,
Feeling freedom and love,
Of joyous lust and love and love of life
Embodied in words
This mystery of love and hate
Of life and death
Mouthed
Stuttered over
Spoken of
The light and the shade
Wistful and wilful
The righteous marriage of sweetness and bitterness
The seed and the mystery of
Us – we – one.
In our infancy
Creatures of grace.

 

Poem – Sam Burnside