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2/23/2008

sandalwood

[yep, another photo repeat. I just haven't felt like dealing with the camera. Hang tight.]

I practiced a random act of poetry back to the goodreads fellow. I previously printed part of the poem on my blog, but it is too good - you must read the whole thang. This poem breathes with life:

"Sandalwood"
by Robert A. Fink
[from IMAGE, issue #56]

Being one born from human stock,
the coming together of desire and will,
certainly flesh, I would not have found

such a word for this aroma, nor
votive
for the candle on my writing table,

the small flame a sleeping infant's nursing
lips and mouth, a soft pronouncement.

And even though I lit this candle
for its promise of therapy, scent, and light
against darkness, I know, of course,

that
sandalwood is not the Word
the apostle John found on the Island

of Patmos, an exile of quiet, of listening-
what I seek each morning in the almost dark,

a large dog asleep on my feet as I read
my mantra, my prayer of centering-
the first five stanzas of Saint John's gospel

singing the word of light shining in darkness,
the light that darkness could not overcome.


Homeless Michael, bearing witness from
the local newspaper article my counselor wife

slipped inside my writing tablet, calls
depression an exile of quiet all the time,
of not talking, what Michael, stationed

at the freeway turnaround, Southwest Drive,
knows to be the whole body completely going,

being nobody, being not here. Saint John,
I think, knew this condition as
longing of the soul-

that which desires release from the body.
On Patmos, would he have been allowed
a candle-the hard fat of sheep, the smell

dank, matted wool filling his nostrils,
not the aroma of softened leather,

the perfumed hair of a young woman
bathing her lover's feet in costly oil?


John would have pronounced the aroma
breath of God. Michael would have called it
sweat. He knows mental illness to be nasty,

pulling your hair out of your head. Maybe it all
depends on where you are and how

you came to be there. Patmos. City underpass.
Table lined with tablet and candle
.


P.S. ~ Robert A. Fink probably would not appreciate the fact that every time I read this lovely poem, I also think of an old, favorite Lisa Loeb song by the same title. I love that album - Tails.

2 comments:

nicole said...

do you fancy, 'eat, pray, love'? i think i'll start that next weekend while on the 10 hour plane ride.
xx

jenni said...

Well, here is my lil' review from goodreads:

"I loved the descriptions and history of Italy, India, and Indonesia. I want to travel to Italy and India myself, even learn Italian. Elizabeth Gilbert is a great writer, and she is hilarious. But her theology is so out there that at one point I considered quitting the read. Her 'logic' hurt my brain. I took a long break in Bali, and when I picked up the book again, I really enjoyed the ending. "