Friday, February 7, 2014

The Morning Reading: "In the pitch-dark each of us waits for him"

In the Park
- Maxine Kumin

You have forty-nine days between
death and rebirth if you're a Buddhist. 
Even the smallest soul could swim
the English Channel in that time
or climb, like a ten-month-old child,
every step of the Washington Monument
to travel across, up, down, over or through
--you won't know till you get there which to do. 

He laid on me for a few seconds 
said Roscoe Black, who lived to tell
about his skirmish with a grizzly bear
in Glacier Park. He laid on me not doing anything. I could feel his heart
beating against my heart. 
Never mind lie and lay, the whole world 
confuses them. For Roscoe Black you might say
all forty-nine days flew by. 

I was raised on the Old Testament. 
In it God talks to Moses, Noah, 
Samuel, and they answer. 
People confer with angels. Certain
animals converse with humans. 
It's a simple world, full of crossovers. 
Heaven's an airy Somewhere, and God
has a nasty temper when provoked,
but if there's a Hell, little is made of it. 
No longtailed Devil, no eternal fire,

and no choosing what to come back as. 
When the grizzly bear appears, he lies/lays down
on atheist and zealot. In the pitch-dark
each of us waits for him in Glacier Park.
(photo: Anne Sexton and Maxine Kumin, back in the day.)

Poet Maxine Kumin dead at 88

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