Pages

2.22.2012

A Toast


As promised, my poem to the writer's workshop:

A Toast 
(variations on “An Appeal” by Czeslaw Milosz)
To you, O Church, to you I lift this glass of cheap grape juice.
I lift it in irony, because I am deeply flawed.
I lift it in sorrow, because so are you.
And I lift it in brave, bold hope. To you,
bored bride, wherever you are.
In the creaking building, by the heartless fountain,
sitting in the last bright light above the hazy port.
I drink to you with no better question 
than the far better poet asked some sixty years ago:
“Whether you really think that this world is your home?”
That the skin and bones are stretched as they ought around
the mortal-heavy embers of your heart? 
That the words and the songs are the first and the last
and they signify nothing but the certainty of this hour?
Probably you know very well the hot objection of injustice.
That every tumor and scar, barrenness and hunger, mewling,
limping life states otherwise.
But it is more than brokenness. 
It is the hope of our tongues.
“If one day our words come so close...”
is the promise of the resurrection―
not of the dead, but of the man in the cave,
watching shadows of what he would be,
if he would but be right.
This is why we write. Why we put the pen to page.
Why we speak the great Amen in ink and keyboard clicks
again and again.
Because before Adam fell, God gave him a work.
This is why we name things. 
“If one day our words...”
I call you brother, sister, that you might be that to me.
I call this wine and blood, and so it also is.
For what we bind on earth, and what we name, are sealed so―
not in our hearts, but here, at this table,
in the creaking building, by the heartless fountain,
sitting in the last bright light above the hazy port.
It is our words that prove us wanderers.
We wait for the creed to be-come before us,
and we flit solemnly from phrase to phrase meanwhile.
Because at any moment, whether the light streaks hallowed
between celestial cloud banks or not,
whether the waves crash just so, 
or a strain of music happens to waft
over a wall of climbing honeysuckle, regardless,
the word becomes flesh.
And dwells among us.

5 comments:

  1. So beautifully written. You should write more!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very beautiful, Molly. Touching.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very beautiful, Molly. Touching.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Molly,

    I was looking for a quick quote from "An Appeal" and ended up here, and read your poem, and not only is it beautiful in its own right but it really serves as a powerful exposition of the original. You expressed what I've so often tried to say - "For what we bind on earth, and what we name, are sealed so" -- and of course, this is incarnational work. Thank you!

    zac

    ReplyDelete

There was an error in this gadget