And then the empty page again come morning, cloud unwritten on, virginal snow may I be worthy of your blissful stare slowly turning into smile, the tree that never harmed anyone until it was cut down and turned into this sheet of paper, a whole cloth becoming startled leaf of so much pressed yearning I can feel it all the way up into my eyeteeth, and here are a few feckless words to keep you company, a friendly tattoo down through the ages, a way to go sailing into the night darkness with a soft voice to accompany you, gentle, passionate murmur which has been my whole life, I who have Emily Dickinsoned and Mandelstamed, I who have Jim Harrisoned and Paul Celaned, weaving once the leaves of another tree that gave me the single syllable O to run through every quaking morning, the O of my O of my dearest, lilting O not my own not on loan from on high, on high, peeling, threadbare O, every lovemaking shudder in the glissando spine God gave me to arch and to bend the arrow of desire in the bull’s eye center of desire’s ground zero, O, I am epicenter of your awe and the ecstasy that embarrasses me until I am blushing bride turned buckaroo on the windswept plains of this earth, the ecstasy that sayeth you again and again and again that truly I am coming, Lord, I will deliver this letter and epistle, handwritten note that it is good and manifest of glory to wear this human coat of flesh and rock the Casbah, rock the tennis court and dance floor and cast to outside seam and bubble line where foam is home and home is a dog with a bone in his mouth, O, piece of paper piece of paradise how dearly do I know you here in the dark before dawn where I tremble like a leaf, piece of gently falling snow I catch on the carpet of my tongue to say/speak/whisper you now in all adoration and how the pages of a book will turn themselves when no one is reading because the one who wrote them is turning them in dream spirit, in death which is only another kind of dream, another kind of waking where the dream turns into birds and trees (the ones that were cut down rising now in resurrection) and infinite light starring the pages until they burn and burnish and brightness with inconceivable meaning.
Robert Vivian is the author of The Tall Grass Trilogy, Water And Abandon and two meditative essay collections, Cold Snap As Yearning and The Least Cricket Of Evening. His first poetry book is called Mystery My Country—and he’s co-written a second called Traversings with the poet Richard Jackson. He teaches at Alma College and as a core faculty member at The Vermont College Of Fine Arts.
Robert has a new book of dervish essays called Immortal Soft-Spoken which will be published this June by Awst Press.