Sunday, November 18, 2007

"After Midnight, the Fifth Month" by Jacqueline Osherow

(p. 68) “After Midnight, the Fifth Month,” Jacqueline Osherow

I am becoming a cathedral! My
Belly rises from the bed like a tiny
Model of the Florence Cupolone.
Probably a belly just like this
Inspired Brunelleschi’s great design:
The original, the perfect, home.
There is a tapping from the inside,
Gentle, almost imperceptible,
Like piano hammers touching piano strings.
And I am fluent in these first attempts
At language; I am turned to someone else.
There is life beyond our own. Gabriel
Whispers, softly fluttering his wings,
With every touch a hushed annunciation.

She’s so exuberant! And I can see the domed womb like a cathedral dome—the cathedral dome like a domed womb and I agree—they are the same in some deep way—a holy enclosure. I like the idea of those first soft flutterings as piano hammers—touches that soft and light. The line “I am turned to someone else” says at least two things at once: 1) I’ve changed into a different person, and 2) my deepest focus has turned from myself to this new life in me. I love poetry when it carries all the meanings of its words at the same time—so each sentence reverberates and changes slightly, reinforcing or modifying itself with each reverberation. In everyday speaking we usually employ words so half-heartedly, like sieves with most of the meaning dripping out, hoping people will get the general drift of what we’re saying. I think the lost language of paradise has more to do with the care and spirit in which we speak whatever we do speak than with the actual vocabulary and grammar heard in Eden.
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