The magazine's editors asked us to read a poem that's been published in Beloit, so I've decided to read a section or two from "Mr. Kowalski," a long poem about violins and failure and the Holocaust that I have not revisited very recently. It will be odd to say the words aloud again.
And probably I'll read something from the Chestnut Ridge manuscript because I know Betsy Sholl likes those poems. Or maybe instead I'll read "Ugly Town" from Same Old Story because it explains why I feel so lonely at literary parties. I'll leave it to the gods to make the decision.
On Saturday I will drive home and then go directly to a high school track meet. On Sunday I will play music at Stutzmans' Cafe. On Monday I will teach K-8 poetry all day. On Tuesday I will sit quietly on my stoop and watch the cat roll around in the driveway.
And now I will read this.
Prayer the Churches banquet, Angels age,
Gods breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth;
Engine against th’ Almightie, sinners towre,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six-daies world-transposing in an houre,
A kinde of tune, which all things heare and fear;
Softnesse, and peace, and joy, and love, and blisse,
Exalted Manna, gladnesse of the best,
Heaven in ordinarie, Man well drest,
The milkie way, the bird of Paradise,
Church-bels beyond the starres heard, the souls bloud,
The land of spices; something understood.