V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




In some small
German towns
you can, during
droughts, still find
processions long
with pleading
winding through
the churchyard
cemetery.  Plaintive
songs pray not
for rain, but pray
hope for rain.
Heaven as vault:
a house of hoarded
clouds whose key
is lost.  And so
when the priest
calls for the water
jar, and pours
blessed waters
beneath a tree upon
a ground already
cracked to splitting,
gardeners judge
the hand as good
that knows
a congregation
of roots gathers
at the drip line.
As weatherbreaks
comprise the year
they forget to list
in program notes
the role that aching
plays; unread leaflets
drop beneath hard
seats eager for
intermission.  Lost
to lore as details
are, particle waves
keep faith, set 
a mise-en-scene
for the least of us
to move through.
Not quite magic
this bridal science, like
any law that covers
the uncreated,
is charmed so far
as it works.  And so
like any force
in motion whose means
to keep in motion
runs through a broken
heart, what mass
remains unmistaken
for momentum
bends like time
on the stem and draws
down the lights.
The well-versed know
a crossfade means
a shift in scene
is coming.  Maybe
heaven's fault: if words
are earth's daughters
and things their sons,
relativity keeps us in
the family.  Yearn
as we may, no
store of rain means
no show of color's
plausible.  The priest
in his chasuble—
a green willow switch
snapping against
the pale sleep-ridden
field—just lives here.
Skill aside, the father's
sure-footed turn
inspires the fold well
enough, draws the line
around to trace
the eaves one final
time and as the psalm
winds up, they flow
back in through iron
doors on cue.


© by John Estes


Contributor's note
Next page
Table of contents
VPR home page

[Best read with browser font preferences set at 12 pt. Times New Roman]