The Poem of Life

Give me the common book hid among the falling leaves
and traffic lights and former lovers
the lexicon of liars, dictators, the faithless, the failing
and the playground bully and banker
that tells me how their daughters dance
without music or reason
and how their father loved Louis L’Amour
and the light and the road and signs
how they were made by children and friends and strangers
beyond the plain typography of this mind.

I need the poem of life
of quiet words carried in the heart
of all those far from me—my cousin, my neighbor
my friend, my beautiful daughters—I need the quiet words
so often stifled, mistaken, doubted
words so ready to speak if I could only bear them
bear the passions baptizing all things
in autumnal fire before the world is bathed in darkness
and I cannot see what I feel.

Read alone the epic is all force
all will behind will and for the honest
an unspeakable nothing nihilating everything
yet—yet read with friends in the family chapels of the mind
staged in open air globes of imagination
impossible affections slow
for drives radiant with purpose and the possible
and we find ourselves again
in the bible of the free.

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