With Roses (6:30 a.m.)
I'm empty. Quench me with song.
I'm guarded. Open me as the undine.
I'm sleepy. Awaken me to strum.
I'm clipped and shorn of night. With each note brighten me.
Let the eight-stringed harp hallow Your name.
I'm thirsty with praise. Let this golden net manna me in Your Majesty.
The leaves of the sycamore wave their shade through my window
in my underwater sun they dapple my page.
Through me the voice of the sparrow.
Through my song the dying heave of the hooked bluefish
its ribboned gills—the color of bleeding roses.
In its last gasps in the punishing air—so like its birth—it praises You.
What hook have You placed in my lip?
I seek You in the syllable sighs of the sycamore that sings Seek more.
I hear You in the mimosa that murmurs My Moses.
I have sought Your face in the faces of strangers who jostle me at the market.
I have glimpsed You in my son's squint and in my husband's ironic grin.
I have sought You in the late-blooming rose of Sharon.
I have found You in the spider that makes its web in my kitchen corner.
I have seen You in the inchworm caught in its web and in the one scaling my arm.
O the world is filled with those who bait the hook and those who are caught
and You alone know which one we will become
and when You will catch us up in Your celestial net.
And all at the moment of birth and at the moment of bloom
and still all at the scissored instant of death
When the good are trampled upon
and it is difficult to muster my faith into song
When I waver I pray
You will set me on the highest rock
For even my doubt is holy and drum-taps Your praise.
Green Laddered Thanksgiving (11 a.m.)
At forest-green at rungs as trees
at shore-rim of shadow-green
(on one high step on mixing bowl » dish towel
to archway) to Japanese maple » ample
leaves climbing I am climbing
to read Nature's book in this nook
in this 21st century kitchen light » at chin height
And all I can do is give thanks » thanks
for the bull frog by my door
give thanks for the cicada's » dada
its persistent IS for these limbs » that limn
that I can still swim » on a whim
in the green pond exceeding thanks » for seeding me »
ceding me Samuel my son
whose name means You heard
prophet anointer of kings » rejoicer in all things
who believes in You
(How else could the whole world
have been created)
More thanks for Sono (know who is)
the red Griffon » fond I am fond of
his beard-face to look upon is to laugh » bark against bark
whose patience is devotion » won't shun
risks drowning swimming out to me
Abundant gratitude in every latitude
for my marry » my helpmate
(not made like me) in his stoic calm
as the morning page of the pond » (my im » ponderable)
Thank You for fashioning me as I am
a woman (no woe-man— not wombed man)
morning-slow (mourning, low) who kneels »
making patterns quickening with words »
(consorts with orts)
May all these lines praise You
rays raise You
for each day's eleventh hour return
the gathering bright haze.
Blackberry City and Sundial Talk (4 p.m.): Time
takes all but memories in the end
(takes time) takes even those
of our tailboned ancestors this
the purplest late-fall sun of my lover's ways (of my own)
of the buildings torn down to make way of those ghosting my dreams
of the bridges packed with smeared people walking away
of other bridge walks to hear
"Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" the ceremony
of marriage even of the brightest
blood birth at the sunset hour of 4:59
when I pushed and strained
forth a child of his immediate gaze
and suckle of stinging milk-breast urge its taste
of my blackberry blood
of that first Brooklyn day outside after
many child-feverish days of racing
down the exhilarating alleyway
into the spangled street of sweating in the City of
Fountains (of drinking at one dipping
my feet in another) of each ecstatic
swim when I once fell in got snow up my nose
of the first time I picked blackberries
in Ithaca and bit in of lavender smell of the last time
I kissed his sleepy face
or held her grasp: Is forgetting
the soul dying finally with the body?
O Blessed One
may it never be so.
Sharon Dolin is the author of three books of poems: Realm of the Possible (Four Way Books, 2004), Serious Pink (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003), and Heart Work (The Sheep Meadow Press, 1995), as well as five poetry chapbooks. Her latest book, Burn and Dodge, is the winner of the Donald Hall Prize in Poetry and forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press. Dolin is Poet-in-Residence at Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts. She directs The Center for Book Arts Annual Letterpress Poetry Chapbook Competition and is a Curator for their Broadsides Reading Series, and teaches at the 92 Street Y in NYC.