Sunday, October 11, 2009

Poem: "Ideas of the Real"

Many things streaming in my head when I wrote this poem this morning. A lovely wedding yesterday. The National Equality March today. Immigration, always. What is real. What is true. What is beautiful.


Ideas of the Real

On Palm Sunday Sister Custor
Exposed her major relic, the longest
Known piece of the Brazen Serpent.
--Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, “The Real Thing”

Two days before Columbus, you find a better way
to prove a continent real: you are wedding you,
bringing strangers (family are strangers to a love)
together here to witness a special desire.

In National Newark Building, the murals dream
of freight trains pulling in, busy docks, canals,
the blending of peoples, the mart of all trades—
O, a city falters when its dreaming falters.

You build a small belief on the mezzanine.
Pivoting in the scattered ring of rose petals,
our seats arranged round like four low walls
as if to square the circle, you invoke

Neruda singing of disused military roads,
his words a blue bouquet and a lightning bolt,
the murmur of Tasso’s waves, and a judge’s
closing on the spirit of the law on marriage.

If poets and judge are real, so are we,
the strangers permitted into your country,
for we hear you, a scholar and a poet,
to mean I want when you say I do.

for Chloe and Hans

*

3 comments:

Shropshirelad said...

Very nice, Jee. A pleasure to read.

You seem to have really hit your stride with these. Each gets successively stronger.

Jee Leong Koh said...

Perhaps it's a function of Eilean's growing strength from book to book.

Shropshirelad said...

Perhaps. But only perhaps.