Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Sabbath Poetry: Franz Wright (III)

As I've mentioned previously, I'm in the process of finishing -- to the extent that one can -- the various full corpuses (corpi?) of my favorite poets, including Billy Collins and Wendell Berry, and now Franz Wright. I have shared his marvelous and broken poetry before, from more recent publications, but the following is from his 1982 collection, The One Whose Eyes Open When You Close Your Eyes. Enjoy.

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St. Paul's Greek Orthodox Church: Minneapolis, 1960

By Franz Wright

There are times I can still
sense the congregation
all around me, whispering
to the one who raised the dead;
the one whose own
pulse had ceased, and yet returned
from the tomb.

His face above
in the high
enormously bright golden dome
of the ceiling:
the Face
so different
from the human

face of Jesus clenched
with agony,
or the beautiful Lord
of Hieronymus Bosch
gently bearing his cross through
the sneering crush.
Each Sunday morning

my speechless lost mother
brought me among them there;
they were mostly old people
on canes, and some I remember
were blind: all of them gone
by now, to their Father's mansion
under the grass.

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