June 27, 2014KR OnlinePoetry

Stray Paragraph in April,
Year of the Rat

From The Kenyon Review, New Series, Spring 1997, Vol. XIX, No. 2

Only the dead can be born again, and then not much.
I wish I were a mole in the ground,
                                                              eyes that see in the dark.

Attentive without an object of attentiveness,
Unhappy without an object of unhappiness—
Desire in its highest form,
                                                 dog prayer, diminishment . . .

If we were to walk for a hundred years, we could never take
One step toward heaven—
                                          you have to wait to be gathered.

Two cardinals, two blood clots,
Cast loose in the cold, invisible arteries of the air.
If they ever stop, the sky will stop.

Affliction’s a gift, Simone Weil thought—
The world becomes more abundant in severest light.

April, old courtesan, high-styler of months, dampen our mouths.

The dense and moist and cold and dark come together here.

The soul is air, and it maintains us.

Charles Wright’s most recent collection of poems is Bye-and-Bye (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux). He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, and recently retired from the University of Virginia. Wright was named poet laureate of the United States in the summer of 2014.