LINES WRITTEN AFTER READING “PARKINSONS DISEASE”, BY GALWAY KINNELL

crystal skull
They say our hearts are hard
but inside the stone is a hollow
filled with blue industrial diamonds.

After we die, the jaw bones go on grinning.
The skull empties itself.
Magnificent human eyes give up space
so the moon can see through them.

We humans do not look away
from our own face decaying in varieties of mirrors.
We extend a hand in welcome, even to death
making nothing of what is already nothing.

I say all of us will falter, all of us will kneel,
and all be left standing.
I say there is a sky, blue with diamonds, coming down over us.
There is a singing in tongues only mountains understand.
There are hands on fire reaching out for ours.

 

 

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5 thoughts on “LINES WRITTEN AFTER READING “PARKINSONS DISEASE”, BY GALWAY KINNELL

  1. Burning
    BY GALWAY KINNELL
    He lives, who last night flopped from a log
    Into the creek, and all night by an ankle
    Lay pinned to the flood, dead as a nail
    But for the skin of the teeth of his dog.

    I brought him boiled eggs and broth.
    He coughed and waved his spoon
    And sat up saying he would dine alone,
    Being fatigue itself after that bath.

    I sat without in the sun with the dog.
    Wearing a stocking on the ailing foot,
    In monster crutches, he hobbled out,
    And addressed the dog in bitter rage.

    He told the yellow hound, his rescuer,
    Its heart was bad, and it ought
    Not wander by the creek at night;
    If all his dogs got drowned he would be poor.

    He stroked its head and disappeared in the shed
    And came out with a stone mallet in his hands
    And lifted that rocky weight of many pounds
    And let it lapse on top of the dog’s head.

    I carted off the carcass, dug it deep.
    Then he came too with what a thing to lug,
    Or pour on a dog’s grave, his thundermug,
    And poured it out and went indoors to sleep.

    I saw him sleepless in the pane of glass
    Looking wild-eyed at sunset, then the glare
    Blinded the glass—only a red square
    Burning a house burning in the wilderness.

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