Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sunday Sabbath Poetry: R. T. Smith (II)

Here is one more from Smith for good measure. Let's see if I can keep it up with a third in a row next week.

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Full Moon with Bells

By R. T. Smith

As the solstice moon
with its Latin landscape
rises waferlike
above the quay,

moonlight and frost
embroider the slate
with a guidebook
Irish beauty, and I shut

off the radio's report
of your sad story --
rape by a neighbor,
the court forbidding

a foreign abortion,
the power of Rome.
Where is mercy?
The boats are in,

the city still, the priory's
new bells summoning
all of Galway to vespers.
Now I imagine you

moongazing through lace
curtains as the tides
of your body ossify,
the first blue milk

forming intricate
as snowflakes high
in the winter air.
I want to reassure you,

but the words fail me,
and neither sweet
litany nor the Host
glowing can show me

anything holy
in the bishop's decree.
The faraway moon's
ancient names I whisper --

Mare Serenitatus
and Lacus Somniorum --
offer no solace,
while worshipers approach

the altar, their eyes
too filled with piety
to see. In Dublin
the state ministers

caucus over blue cigar
smoke and brandy,
but no absolution
echoes in the bronze

of those vernacular
bells, as the country
ices over, Patria
, cold core

of the heart, dark face
of the moon.

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