Poem | Witness

Typically cryptic, God said three weasels
slipping electric over the rocks
one current conducting them up the tree
by the river in the woods in the country
into which I walked
away and away and away;
and a moon-blued, cloud-strewn night sky
like an x-ray
with here a mass and there a mass
and everywhere a mass;
and to the tune of a two-year-old
storm of atoms
elliptically, electrically alive—
I will love you in the summertime, Daddy.
I will love you...in the summertime.

Once in the west I lay down dying
to see something other than the dying stars
so singularly clear, so unassailably there,
they made me reach for something other.
I said I will not bow down again
to the numinous ruins.
I said I will not violate my silence with prayer.
I said Lord, Lord
in the speechless way of things
that bear years, and hard weather, and witness.

About the Author

Christian Wiman’s most recent books are Every Riven Thing (2010) and Stolen Air: The Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam (2012). An interview with him appears in the May 2, 2014, issue of Commonweal

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Old MacDonald speaks for God?

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