Poem: “The Tune Michael”

This poem of mine was recently published in the 4th anniversary issue of the Istanbul Literary Review, edited by Susan Tepper and Gloria Mindock.

The Tune Michael

    for Karen and Dino

What comes through to the bedded boy, the laid-down boy,
the boy dark as church, weathering a sleep
fallen in childhood — all my hope

the boy wiped and leaking, the boy the body feeding
the house with its banked fires,
center of our constellation on God

is founded what comes to us through the body
is like practicing music
before anyone arrives, the nave’s silence maple thick

and sun after sun content to fall
through change and chance through dust
but no word, should that be enough?

What is enough for the boy tucked and sheeted,
sung favorites, insensate to our tender gloves,
still my trust rituals of a retired flag —

what funeral, what cure?
How much his life for ours
springeth out of naught

oh, let there be an inside
to this night, this boy bread,
in his flesh a listener

hidden like God in wine.

The tune mentioned in the title is #665 in the 1982 Episcopal Hymnal, written by Herbert Howells to accompany the poem “All My Hope on God Is Founded”. This video from Westminster Abbey includes captioned lyrics.