Friday, April 5, 2013

Sitting in Minerva's Kitchen

Celebrating National Poetry Month

Starry Night by Jean-François Millet

The Long Deep Breath

I first met poetry as a warm starry night – and cloudless.
Wordless joy, both dazzling and calm
Steadfast and ever-moving.
No desire to leave.
She was a quieting immensity.

I later discovered that I in my blindness
I had only seen one fin of the whale,
One eye of the elephant.
I had heard only one note of the symphony
And thought it profound.

Rilke warned,
“Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror.”
When I found her more beautiful
Than a thousand artist’s portrayals
I needed some respite from the sight,
I sought a moment to breathe that calming rhythm
Of starry night;
A chance to clothe myself
In ordinary time.

There is magnificent joy in poetry’s muse –
And holy terror.
One welcomes on those days
The distraction of a friend
Wearing plain vanilla.
A sight for sore eyes;
The balm of Gilead;
A wordless cup of tea.

One welcomes that long deep breath
Taken while sitting
In Minerva’s kitchen
During ordinary time;
Thankful for memories
Of holy terror,
Yet just as thankful
For a wooden chair
And a cup of tea.

                        ~ Charles Kinnaird


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