Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Lips of the Planchette

A ticklishness sometimes, sometimes
unbearable, like the crawl of restless legs
at night, when sleep
refuses to meet your eyes –
sometimes though a stiff wind of joy,
and the flesh in tatters streaming out behind.

Does it matter which hand palms the coin,
when he has ten thousand, and each a blazing eye?
I would say only, wait, and sway, and say
Oh not the lovely defensible prayers
you learned as an adult, no: say the Lord's Prayer,
dear, or “Now I lay me down to sleep.”

Now as I wait for this hesitating chest
to rise again, just a little; now while I wait
to hear the faintest breath,
now while all the joists are breaking,
the studs splitting the drywall,
and the cinder blocks grinding

one against the other --
now tell your simplest rosary,
or lead your fattest darling to the knife;
now touch your nibbled fingertips
to the lips of the planchette;
forget shame, this once, and ask.


Seon Joon said...

Oh Dale... lovely, and difficult, together.

Dale said...

Thank you, dear.

Dick said...

Something of sleeplessness and the gathering uncertainties of ageing creep out of this startling and challenging piece. But maybe that's just me re-fashioning the poem to my shape...

Jo said...


Beth said...

I'm going to be mulling this one over for a long while, Dale - the mark of a really good poem.

Beth said...

Oh, and I had to look up "planchette!"