by James Como (December 2019)
Landscape with Birds, Lucien Freud, 1950
A Place for Love
Now I have a safe place for love.
I thought I had but she took it all
and went away and I was bereft.
Here, with me, a white bird is left
behind as company, to call
a friend. Fine solace is my dove.
Crystalline Heaven, Gustave Dore, 19th cent
How is it to be whole? Either oh-so-high,
Above the fray, poised and self-possessed,
Or in the cellar of unacknowledged despair,
a precinct below, too hollow to scare,
Where petty appetite and sorrow score their
Mark, feigning grandeur, while trivial
Souls roil pitifully with quotidian sighs.
How be whole? Why, learn that to die
Is part of our poem, sung unto the
Crystalline sphere with its kaleidoscope
Of Seraphim and rippling cascades of hope:
Our storied empryean blazoned gold.
Trust the holy Singer, then, preparing our place,
His tale of longing, His advent of grace.
James Como is the author, most recently, of The Tongue is Also a Fire: Essays on Conversation, Rhetoric and the Transmission of Culture . . . and on C. S. Lewis (New English Review Press, 2015). His forthcoming book, from the Oxford University Press, is C.S. Lewis: A Very Short Introduction.
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