Contents | April 2001

In This Issue (Contributors)

Also by Mark Jarman:
In the Tube (1999)
Psalm (1997)
The Atlantic Monthly | April 2001
 
Canticle

by Mark Jarman
 
.....
 
audioear pictureHear Mark Jarman read this poem (in RealAudio)


Beautiful repetition, the caress repeated, again,
That makes one say and repeat, "Don't stop."

Reiteration, restatement, the beat brushed into skin,
The pulse responding to breath, counted, touched.

Beautiful pattern of change, cyclical as blood,
The axle pivots, the planet wanders.

The moon comes back and leaves, a total story or slice
Of life, shining with meaning, like a life.

Beautiful repetition, the haze of new grass
Rises from scattered seeds, a green dawn.

A chickadee's claim rings the seed bell by the window.
The world tilts too, a ball dented by song.

Look at it happen again, always in a new pattern:
Famine again, war, after the odd peace.

Habit, the great deadener, narrows our affections
To one face, reappearing in the mirror.

Look at it happen again, always for the first time:
Death of the father, the mother, absolute.

No way to bring them back, except to become them.
Tragic re-enactment, beautiful repetition.


Copyright © 2001 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved. The Atlantic Monthly; April 2001; Canticle - 01.04; Volume 287, No. 4; page 62.