Uphill–Poem

Laboring uphill
unlike Dante
my steps do not lighten
as I go

Pine pollen paints
shoes a dusty green
olive drab slightly yellowed

Alive between Inferno
and Paradise
Purgatory
we may sin no more
but we pay for the sins
behind and below us

Seven cursive P’s
cut into my forehead
peccati

one for each day of
my weak week

We stay in a cabin
on the hill
looking down
on water

Prayers from those
breathing, casting shadows
sporting their Adam or Eve
could shorten my time
uphill

I take a path
trees marked in Passover red
I run my hand along the bark
where fire has chased these trees
and scorched their ankles

Atop the hill
I have been told
is a Lodge
closed for repairs
statework taking its
sweet overtime

I wonder how they can leave it closed
with so many waiting to enter and stay

Life is serious
in such strange ways
immanent and transcendent
betwixt and bewitched and between
inexperience facing
the demands of the day

Uphill laboring
by laborious footfalls

I am callow
unable to focus
in full upon life’s liturgy
its serious play
unwilling to accept it as a gift
so misunderstanding it as a task

Love loves
hopes to love understandingly
but loves misunderstandingly
often
making unhappy both
lover and beloved

I do not have my life
in precise and stringent categories
living in sloppy thinking
wringing the acorn from the lily
chasing the rabbit on an ox
out of season even in season

Can our life be our poesy
can we live metered lives
can we find ourselves Canting
day to day
turning to the left to find
Virgil there, whenever

It is our vacation
the family’s
holiday
but I would dignify my leisure
by taking time to sorrow in knowing
no one has crowned or mitered me Lord of myself
I am impure and too flabby to mount to the stars

I labor uphill
my forehead a child’s penmanship lesson

6 responses

  1. You inspire me.

    I see an image of the church in that lodge “atop the hill” which is broken and in need of repair, for whose refurbished rooms we sigh and wait, saying “how long, Lord?” – afraid that, if the work be drawn out too long we may run out of time in the waiting.

    Thank you!

  2. “Life is serious
    in such strange ways
    immanent and transcendent
    betwixt and bewitched and between
    inexperience facing
    the demands of the day”

    The poem hits it’s peak here, I feel an ascent and descent in the way it’s written. Excellent.

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