Sunday, November 8, 2015

La Farge Blue

So in Trinity Church we stalk
to the altar, then turn to admire
light shivering through the blue,

bottomless blue, that La Farge
embodied in the windows
placed high above the vestibule

to absorb the afternoon sun.
Braced in the gloomy stone the blaze
of this implacable color frames

Jesus with two marble pillars
too formal to support the plain
colloquial ministry he preached.

But they hold and focus our gaze
for long moments, infusing
the blue so deeply inside us

we now will never deplete it.
Slumped in a pew we avoid
touching each other until

the heavens stop revolving.
Now as random chords implode
the organ, quaking foundations

all over Back Bay, our hands crawl
toward each other like sand crabs
almost too timid to mate.

The whole afternoon creeps forward
with this same nervous movement.
What if blasphemous stones fell

and broke these elegant windows?
Would we still regard each other
with a deep-set silence impossible

for the organ to violate?
As we rise to slip outside, the blue
of the windows deepens a few

degrees. The autumn sun lowers
below the Prudential Tower,
which thrusts into an atmosphere

breathed by the usual people
among whom we’ll shine secretly
with colors we’ve yet to explore.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Painted Paris Pumpkin

photo by Jean O'Neil

A grocer on Rue du Commerce
honors Halloween by painting
a clown face on a pumpkin.

No jack o’ lantern to scald
the minds of tiny children,
this creature’s winsome black gaze,

red blob nose, lolling tongue
look harmless as if lounging
in a textured suburban garden.

The grocer wants twenty Euros
for his artwork. The day inclines
toward the west, the overcast

thick as old-fashioned topcoats.
I crossed the Atlantic in one stride
to visit on your native soil,

but the pumpkin has locked my gaze,
so I have to buy and tote it
like the head of the headless horseman

to a rendezvous with horror
France hasn’t seen since the Forties.
It won’t perform that American

jack o’ lantern act, but maybe
the red tongue will lap and slobber
on some gray woman rushing home

with a string bag of fresh vegetables.
This freshest vegetable of all
will kindle her like puberty;

and if she steadies herself enough,
stifles the urge to call the police,
she’ll rush home to her family

and jolt them with slathers of kisses.
I hope you also will endure
the pumpkin’s friendly drooling                                 

and inspire yourself to respond
with earthen passion ripe enough
to brace us both through winter.