Rinsed with Gold, Endless, Walking the Fields
By Robert Siegel
Flourish magazine, Fall 2010
Let this day’s air praise the Lord—
Rinsed with gold, endless, walking the fields,
Blue and bearing the clouds like censers,
Holding the sun like a single note
Running through all things, a basso profundo
Rousing the birds to an endless chorus.
Let the river throw itself down before him,
The rapids laugh and flash with his praise,
Let the lake tremble about its edges
And gather itself in one clear thought
To mirror the heavens and the reckless gulls
That swoop and rise on its glittering shores.
Let the lawn burn continually before him
A green flame, and the tree’s shadow
Sweep over it like the baton of a conductor,
Let winds hug the housecorners and woodsmoke
Sweeten the world with her invisible dress,
Let the cricket wind his heartspring
And draw the night by like a child’s toy.
Let the tree stand and thoughtfully consider
His presence as its leaves dip and row
The long sea of winds, as sun and moon
Unfurl and decline like contending flags.
Let blackbirds quick as knives praise the Lord,
Let the sparrow line the moon for her nest
And pick the early sun for her cherry,
Let her slide on the outgoing breath of evening,
Telling of raven and dove,
The quick flutters, homings to the green houses.
Let the worm climb a winding stair,
Let the mole offer no sad explanation
As he paddles aside the dark from his nose,
Let the dog tug on the leash of his bark
The startled cat electrically hiss,
And the snake sign her name in the dust
In joy. For it is he who underlies
The rock from its liquid foundation,
The sharp contraries of the giddy atom,
The unimaginable curve of space,
Time pulling like a patient string,
And gravity, fiercest of natural loves.
At his laughter, splendor riddles the night,
Galaxies swarm from a secret hive,
Mountains split and crawl for aeons
To huddle again, and planets melt
In the last tantrum of a dying star.
At his least signal spring shifts
Its green patina over half the earth,
Deserts whisper themselves over the cities,
Polar caps widen and wither like flowers.
In his stillness rock shifts, root probes,
The spider tenses her geometrical ego,
The larva dreams in the heart of the peachwood,
The child’s pencil makes a shaky line,
The dog sighs and settles deeper,
And a smile takes hold like the feet of a bird.
Sit straight, let the air ride down your backbone,
Let your lungs unfold like a field of roses,
Your eyes hang the sun and moon between them,
Your hands weigh the sky in even balance,
Your tongue, swiftest of members, release a word
Spoken at conception to the sanctum of genes,
And each breath rise sinuous with praise.
Let your feet move to the rhythm of your pulse
(Your joints like pearls and rubies he has hidden),
And your hands float high on the tide of your feelings.
Now, shout from the stomach, hoarse with music,
Give gladness and joy back to the Lord,
Who, sly as a milkweed, takes root in your heart.
Robert Siegel is the author of nine books of poetry and fiction. His poetry includes A Pentecost of Finches: New and Selected Poems, The Waters Under the Earth, The Beasts & The Elders and In a Pig’s Eye, and he has received prizes and awards from Poetry, Prairie Schooner, The Transatlantic Review, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. His poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and The Atlantic Monthly. His fiction includes Alpha Centauri and the Whalesong trilogy, which received the Golden Archer and Matson awards.
Siegel has taught at Dartmouth, Princeton, and Goethe University in Frankfurt, and for twenty-three years at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he directed the graduate creative writing program and is currently professor emeritus of English. He has degrees from Wheaton, Johns Hopkins, and Harvard. He is married to Ann Hill Siegel, a photographer, and lives on the coast of Maine.
Copyright 2006, 1980 Robert Siegel