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Poetry #40
(published May 17, 2001)
The Vision After the Sermon
by Barry Blumenfeld

Good women of Brittany, listen.
You know who I am—-
A sturdy, vicious, amiable brute—-
And I know what you think of me.

Ladies, careful. Judge not.
The grass grows crimson
At the spectacle of your passion.
Power shimmers in the light.

See: these common places
Are always more than natural.
In the wake of their becoming,
Such things as steeples disappear.

My churlish will erases them,
And brooms, cobblestones,
Crooked trees—-every child
Of your imaginations.

When the field is free
Of inessentials,
What is real finds space.
Too abstract? Pardon.

Then example: Jacob at Beth-El.
Remember? He slept in waste places.
The world was vacant.
God, abhorring a vacuum, sent angels.

There's something in this for us moderns.
What? Innocence, before history.
Glory. As sight is my vocation,
I dared to look. It crippled me.

Some wounds are simple; not this.
I climbed to heaven on phantom limbs.
The unforgiving Son of Man
Doffed His mask. I paid for the favor.

Biscuits and water; pillows of rock.
Seven years and seven, hard labor.
Sons, wives, syphilis.
Echoing radiance of the stars.

Why? Price of admission.
White bonnets, green fields,
French virtues—-lost, all that peace,
To me, in meeting His eyes,

The kind twin poles of the universe.

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