At St. John the Divine, Thinking of Melville

Past the tympanum’s bronze doors
under the rose window,
as many times years ago,
on late afternoons, I hear
only my steps on the marble floor.

Under the height of granite
and all things still,
I sit on a folding chair
at the end of a Hundred and Twelfth
and Amsterdam, the end of an aisle

far from the altar –
no detail seen at the ceiling,
a perpetual dark – faint, stained glass
more luminous as I stare.

Out in the garden “the unstained
light of open day” –
…………………………cherry blossoms
shadowing crooked trunks
……………………………………….provide
for the bees, humming, just
here, off the sidewalk – late

sunlight at Morningside Heights.

James Brasfield

James Brasfield

James Brasfield is the author of Infinite Altars and Ledger of Crossroads, and Cove, expected in 2022, from LSU Press. Twice a Senior Fulbright Fellow to Ukraine, he received fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and is a recipient of the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. He lives in Belfast, Maine.
James Brasfield

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Author: James Brasfield

James Brasfield is the author of Infinite Altars and Ledger of Crossroads, and Cove, expected in 2022, from LSU Press. Twice a Senior Fulbright Fellow to Ukraine, he received fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and is a recipient of the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. He lives in Belfast, Maine.