Silence and Song

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In paintings a divinity lives,
an aspect and presence of divinity:
the silence. Gratefully the body
drinks it through the eyes.
They see it’s a member of the body
beyond the skin—missing member, how long
missed: without it long the body dies.
Quiet water. Empty shelter
waiting, far off across a plain,
like towers, or just a ruined wall,
and the vast early evening that encloses them,
far off and long before the tired traveler, drawing near,
can hear the bees swarm in the lavender fields
and cattle lowing near the falls. Divine
silence of the poem, silence it gathers
and becomes as it comes to be known:
in its moment of being known, it turns
to a painting where the world
is gathered in the form of a ship
coming into harbor far beneath us
from the mouth of sunset. The silent
poem: the moment of repose
before the mind, changing, throws the verses
down into strangeness. Then their silent god, once more
invisible, has to go back
to singing to be heard again.