A Repeat

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A repeat, one of my more deliberately Carmelite poems--but I needed the reminder. Written in a form of japanese linked verse, often used as a court game--I had wondered at its structure when I read it again because it was so regular and then I realized where the form came from. Sometimes I surprise myself with the influences that have taken so firm a hold without real consciousness. And what a pleasure such surprises are.

Chains of Desire

of heaven painted on things
as we see them now.

Object of desire--sure sign
of its maker--Lord of life.

In not holding on
to things we know, need, and love,
we grow heavenward.

The sky is His-promise-blue--
beyond blue--no clouds--no rain.

Learn now how to be--
see--autumn sky, fall leaves--cool
promise of winter.

Desire--good as it seeks He
who is end of all desire.

Desire--ill wind that
keeps blowing as it is fed--
seeking self alone.

Desire teaches us good, shows
us how to see, be, and want.

I want the ocean
broad salt, the great rivers, I
want and do not need.

Desire stretches want into
need. It doesn't know its end.

Stalk the white egret
for its plumage finery
for a woman's hat

whatever we want becomes
the end to which we will go.

The heart's home, the warmth
of the breath breathed at the start,
Holy Spirit's flame.

How then can we know the line--
want and need, shadow and light?

Seek first the kingdom
and His righteousness, all else
comes to you through these.

But the human heart is trained
to want far beyond its means.

Trained to desire, chained
to desire--the will gives way
in the face of it.

So we must learn to not want
to have without having now.

To enjoy all things
both for themselves as they are
God's own goodly work.

But also to see within
them God's shadow. Taste God there.

Desire would hold you
bound, pining, dying not
for itself but for want.

Desire is the spur, the goad, God's
direction arrow pointed home.

Love without keeping,
take without taking, gold chips
in the chilly stream.

Glint for those who come after,
for you, the moment God spoke.

Hear Him in every word,
see in every motion, not one
thing is without Him.

Desire calls us home-answer
and discover where home is.

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I like this line:

Desire stretches want into
need. It doesn't know its end.

From a purely editorial view, I think that's the heart/theme and the imagery should hinge on that.

Okay, I should shaddup and not wear the editorial cap (sans egret feathers) when not asked.




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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 7, 2006 9:13 AM.

A Poem of Parting was the previous entry in this blog.

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