Take Heart 29 February 2012

Posted Wednesday, February 29, 2012 in Culture

Take Heart 29 February 2012

A Conversation in Poetry

Edited and Introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

 

What does a tiny winged insect at the periphery of human awareness have to do with holiness? This questions lies behind today’s poem by Betsy Sholl, Maine’s former poet laureate.

 

To The Infinitesimal

By Betsy Sholl

 

I opened a holy book, hoping to find

the part about turning the other cheek,

and out you flew, hovering dot

 

smaller than a comma, winged inkling.

Were you late when names were given out,

an afterthought, spittle from a cough

 

at the end of creation? Feeling you

graze my check, I lunged like a clumsy golem,

but you gave me the slip.

 

How can anything so small have a will,

a want, the wits to flee two clapped hands?

In a time revving for war, with experts

 

stoking the engines, insisting necessity,

you’re a nil, a naught, a nuisance to ignore,

not one of mystery’s vexing ellipses…

 

If your wings whir, if you buzz at all,

it's below our hearing, little serif

broken off some word in holy writ

 

to drift among us, inaudible

argument illustrating creation’s

fondness for every last tittle and jot.

 

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2009 by Betsy Sholl. Reprinted from Rough Cradle, Alice James Books, 2009, by permission of Alice James Books, Farmington, ME. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to David Turner, Special Assistant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at poetlaureate@mainewriters.org or 207-228-8263.

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