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Monday, July 07, 2014

The Greatest Thing I Know

i

The Break of the Dark

   have you ever seen the dark dawn? does its fabric fold
out light, to rise and rise ever black, seething set
in the day's decay; what is it the end tries to say?
until a voice calls out from the dark, a hand is shown
to pull you away from the well of shadows;

have you heard it spoken (often I would I bet)
like a record player that's broken; how love saves the soul,
how there are kisses so beautiful that their music scratches out
the vinyl in your head, or touches to leave you so full
no hunger can starve you, and have you heard the poet

(have you really looked at him) when he's asked
if he thinks he knows when the verses will hit,
and if they'll reach their greatest target,
and he replies have you ever seen the dark dawn?
caught its fabric in your hands and folded away

the day's decay, with a voice in your heart
that chases its dreams in the dark; until a hand
is shown, the lips are sound, words are found
and love enters the foreground to help you find
answers to the questions that come to haunt you
;

and did you know that a poet always knows
their greatest work is never done, for sounds are simply
threads wound and unwound, and left in the ground
for what might grow when the darkness comes for you,
and what you imagine light might look like deep down below;

or maybe you'll have heard it said instead that
a poet's best work is always the one to come;
like the tomorrow that never does (you know that too), turning into
a day that decays as you watch helplessly from your window,
writing furiously to keep what little love saves for you;

ii

   and yet, have you ever asked me if I know differently?
looked at me and saw what you have given me? for I am broken
out of the dark, shadows are merely light's frivolity; look how
I let the verses hit where they may, for I know you will save me;
and the decay of day is merely renewal for another way to you;

for you are my dawn, you are my dark, too; you are the poet
that has made me a reader, a believer that our greatest work
is already written by another hand than ours; we are simply sounds
who form the words; the answer to questions that no longer haunt,
but rise against the break of dark as shelter to the end of day;

iii

The Greatest Thing I Know

   and if this is poetry (I look at you and think)
then you've easily outshone all my work;
my best poem is you without exception;

           if the poem is the couplet that stirs
           on the paper of our hearts and stars,

           ruffled and trussed in patterned rhymes
           in verses made up of breaks and lines,

           to give out signs metered in invitations
           with no need of explanation or introductions,

if that is what poetry is, my love,
then you are the greatest poem
this reader could ever name;

           and if a poet is to make a soul as fragile
           as human flesh open to cuts that never heal,

           or turn sounds into sentences making sense
           when spoken with the right lilt and feel,

           written by hands touched with loving,
           all too human and yet left wondering

           whether created by a greater hand
           than we can possibly understand;

my love -- if that is a poet,
then you are the writer of all
the beautiful syllables I know;

iv

   for you've lain waste to all poems,
for I can do nothing more
it seems, than end and begin

my every sentence with
my love, and after you
I know I should silence my pen,

and lay to rest all words,
to simply undersign beauty: as above,
and draw a final line through to you,

were it not for the fact
that the sole purpose I was made
was to describe you, my love,

you: who turned the poet
into a reader, and the poem
into the greatest thing I know.

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