Pattiann Rogers
(born 1940, Joplin, Missouri)

Poetry on Peace

Pattiann Rogers:

Peace All Seasons, Each Night (2001)

Edited by Peter Y. Chou

Peace All Seasons, Each Night

The husk-thin skull of a hummingbird
or little pocket mouse, light as a leaf
of dry cotton grass, weightless as an empty
milkweed pod, can be cradled nicely
in the crook of one finger. The purple-
spotted grey egg of a pipit, the pale
blue egg of a bunting, each can be nestled
comfortably in the hand of a child.
And a smooth cherry pit or a pearl
button or a pea-sized pebble
can be taken up and held lovingly
in the soft curl of a tongue.

But no one alone could ever encircle
the horned head-bone of a triceratops
with both arms and draw it to the breast
for solace or soothe the moon
our of its stiff-starch routine
into an easeful rest against the heart.
An Arctic wind in a rock canyon,
with its waves and whips of snowy
dust, might likewise be considered
so deprived.

Some speak of the sargasso sea
as a cradle, because, in its largess,
it sways and rocks and appears to enfold
and nurture spikes and claws, fins,
fronds, slug strings, fishes
like porcupines, fishes like pipes.

Realms without names are crossed
sometimes inside the boundaries
of this cradling privilege, as when
the closed eyes wake at once to dawn
and the soul transforms itself;
as when one slight shudder shifts
the body from pulse to passion;
as when cradler and cradled suddenly
change places, passing through
one another to merge to neither
momentarily during the changing.

I don't know which brings more faith—
to hold carefully the small blossom
of a new body and drip water like milk
from the fingertip like a nipple
into its funnels, or to dream of existing
as an open sea with ceaselessly disappearing
arms and laps of comforting currents,
or to anticipate being held in death,
as never held in life, in the crook
of a steady finger, or to imagine being
a pearl still tasting of salt, taken up
and rolled al night in the bed
of your tongue.

Pattiann Rogers, "Peace All Seasons, Each Night",
in Song of the World Becoming: New and Collected Poems 1981-2001
Milkweed Editions, Minneapolis, MN, 2001, pp. 27-28

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P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (3-10-2003)