Monday, January 30, 2006

From the Backs of Birds (Variation of Dialogue Challenge)

From the Backs of Birds

I could walk through this meditation and picture
myself in the desert where the sun creates illusions
we dare not believe for fear of being wrong—
that you are the great illusion.

West of the dinosaur quarry I once found an entrance
a narrow crevice in the cliff I imagined would open
the sacred moment when light breaks the sky and
Moses motions me to remove my worn shoes
at the foot of a burning bush that speaks in a voice
I knew God would have if I listened with good ears.

All I wanted from this was to hear my name
as if it were something you had heard before
dropped from the mouths of adoring saints
painted by Da Vinci or perchance seen scribbled
on parchment the texture of moths wings.
I have sent numerous prayers on the backs
of birds special delivery imagining the words
would make it into the good book or
the poor man's scroll the rabbis and prophets
read to you as you stare into the eyes of
each star in the universe as if they were
all the souls of all your children right there
in attendance.

But I do not know the final resting place of prayers
the words that one offers with a sliver of ones own heart
maybe our names get discarded
maybe our quivering pleadings are swept off
the white alabaster-shell tiles out of heaven
maybe they stick in the clouds and fall in the rain
maybe I taste them in heavy storms
maybe they fall off the leaves of the aspen and juniper
and I realize nothing about their presence as I run and
squash them underfoot.

Maybe you could see me differently if you turned
the tables and pretended not to know the secret
if you waited patiently upon the head of the wind
with sore ears blasted from the cryptic squall
like a thousand startled crows in the sky
trying to decipher the seventy-two names of God
and maybe if you waited so long for the vision
that your feet grew roots and your heart grew stones
you would question your own ability to see
the air above your head split open and through
the clean incision see God peer out of the hiding place
maybe then you would know of man's search for meaning
the desire to hear his given name spoken by you.


Michelle e o said...

This is beautiful, I already told you. So I'm saying it again.

luc u! said...


this language is wonderful and rich and

the last stanza is absolutely appropriate

thanks again.

Michael Parker said...

Thank you Michelle and Luc!

Lorna Dee Cervantes said...

Nice poem! Wow, it's really polished without going overboard.

Michael Parker said...

Thank you, Lorna!

Rae Pater said...

This is very beautiful Michael. Like reading silk.
I feel as though I could enjoy it even if I didn't know what the words meant and they were only sounds in my mind.

Michael Parker said...

Rae, thank you!

didi said...

you nailed this one.


Michael Parker said...

Thanks, d!

didi said...

I am selecting this one too.


Michael Parker said...

Honored! Thanks, D!

Pris said...

You already know I love this poem. Lovely ,lovely, lovely!

Michael Parker said...

Thank you, Pris!

Lorna Dee Cervantes said...

. . . and. . . it's got birds in it!

Jill said...

i'm just coming back to read this poem again. beautifully poignant.