Saturday, April 23, 2011

Matching Grant

The sun glows faintly through the clouds like a coin at the bottom of a fountain.

-- Dave Bonta, Morning Porch

. . . the color of plums, of Bordeaux,
of things that have lain a while in the clarifying

-- Luisa Igloria, “Mandorla”

It seems that Spring won't come
until I find forgiveness,
that the God of Cartwheels and Extravagance
is withholding his bounty:
that Spring is a sort of matching grant.

I'm the one responsible for the morning frosts,
the endless rains. The homeless man
who's lain on his side for forty days without food
is in no mood
to make me pretty prophecies. Not while the rain goes on.

Roll up the stinking blankets and begin again. Say the prayers
until you mean them. Take some comfort in knowing
that nothing comes clear, water or wine, without
having “lain a while in the clarifying dark.”

Forgiving injury is hard enough, but harder still
is to forgive the people we have injured
for being injured by us.

So fill the dusty offering bowls.
Stumble through the liturgy. Fumble
through the flyspecked pecha. Give us this day --

No, that's not right. Wrong God. Or is it?
Give us this day --

And finally the sun appears, wavering,
like a coin at the bottom of a fountain.

I think today we'll fill the bowls with wine
even if their cheap alloys dissolve. Why
call them offerings if you're not willing to give them?

Give us this day --
That can't be right. Until the summit
of enlightenment is reached I take refuge
in the Buddha, the Dharma, and in
something unintelligible.

I drop a sun, a bright penny,
into each bowl of wine.

Please forgive me.
Please give us this day.


The Poet's Lizard said...

Dale, humbled and filled by this poem. Thank you. Blessings & <3

NT said...


Deb said...


Uma said...


Dave said...

I like the idea of taking refuge in something intelligible! Good poem. Thanks for the epigraphication.

rbarenblat said...

Oh, beautiful, Dale. This is really gorgeous.