numinousmagazine

Philip Quinlan

In Issue 5 on January 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm

melisma
Anouar Brahem and Modou Gaye

I string the twisted syllable;
I sing at starstrung night
to say that man is beautiful,
to say that God is great.

I flow Allah into a phrase,
one note articulate;
my offering is dutiful:
to pray that God is great.

Wind waves the desert sand, I praise
a sea too deep to know;
each, melismatic in its way,
rolls, rises, falls and flows.

The sea, the desert, yet will meet,
together undulate.
My song: that plan is beautiful;
I play, for God is great.

Upon There Being Not A Ritual

Upon there being not a ritual to say
Upon there being not a name for my belief
Upon there being not a body of the known
Upon there being not an answer in the leaf

Upon there being not a question in the stars
Upon there being not salvation for the soul
Upon there being not a God to make it well
Upon there being not an object or a goal

Upon there being not a purpose for the pain
Upon there being not a pathway to a bliss
Upon there being not a meaning to the words
Upon there being not a way of saying this

These things I dwell

Yet thereupon there being nothing further from the truth
And thereupon there being nothing briefer than this while
And thereupon there being nothing holier than hope
And thereupon there being nothing kinder than a smile

I make my peace

For M

(“It is a failing in me,
and a weakness in my faith,
but, when God does things like this,
I don’t know what he means…”

– Priest at another baby’s funeral)

Into the river then
With your fragment of shadow
And your long light
Which will not succumb

But will forever cast the shadow
Of the man that you will never now become

To be the atom in the eye
That saw the world turn once

To be the seed that waits
Eternity to grow

Somewhere is a garden
Where a tree that never leaves
Is ever bare

And where your fragment of a shadow
Never fades and never follows
But is ever there

The Last Word

The last, the long-considered word
Beyond the quantity of talk
The closing chorus
Of the candleworth of song

It should be fitting

Say that I fossicked
In a pool for innocence
Or marvelled the Atlantic
Green about its business

All for my making

Saw that the gull slid sightlines
To the Earth’s meniscus, learned
What is the aqua into ultra
Through the sulphurings of sun

Its slidewise going

Think that the days were dreamed
And never done and I, tragedian
Intent on the internals
Ever dumb between despairs

Had no hand holding

Or heading now to trinity
Conflation of the sea and sky
Decant the aspirations of the day
To something drinkable

A nourishment to knowing

Imagine then the step beyond the edge
To have the certainty of wings
That know the air will bear me up
And it is lovely, lucid stuff

To fear not falling

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