Paul Goodman


Pagan Rites/Creator Spirit Come - Poem by Paul Goodman

11.Creator Spirit come
by whom
I'll say what is real
and so away I'll steal.

When my only son
fell down and died on Percy mountain
I began
to practice magic like a pagan.

Around the open grave we ate
the blueberries that he brought
from the cloud, and then we
buried his bag with his body.

Upon the covered grave
I laid the hawkweed that I love
that withered fast
where the mowers passed.

I brought also a tiny yellow
flower whose name I do not know
to share my ignorance
with my son. (But since

then I find in the book
it is a kind of shamrock
Oxalis corniculata,
Matty, sorrel of the lady.)

Blue-eyed grass with its gold hexagon
beautiful as the gold and blue
double in Albireo
that we used to gaze on

when Matty was alive
I laid on Matty's grave
where two robins were
hopping here and there;

and gold and bluer than that blue
or the double in Albireo
bittersweet nightshade
the deadly alkaloid
I brought for no other reason
than because it was poison.

Mostly, though, I brought some weed
beautiful but disesteemed,
plantain or milkweed,
because we die by the wayside.

(And if spring comes again
I will bring a dandelion,
because he was a common weed
and also he was splendid.)

But when I laid my own forehead
on the withering sod
to go the journey deep,
I could not fall asleep.

I cannot dream, I cannot quit
the one scene in the twilight
that is no longer new yet does
not pass into what was.

Last night the Pastoral Symphony
of Handel in the key of C
I played on our piano
out of tune shrill and slow

because shepherds were at night
in the field in the starlight
when music loud and clear
sang from nowhere.

Will magic and the weeks placate
the soul that in tumbling fright
fled on August eighth?
The first flock is flying south

and a black-eyed susan
is livid in the autumn rain
dripping without haste or strain
on the oblong larger than a man.

Creator Spirit come
by whom
I say that which is real
and softly away I steal.


Comments about Pagan Rites/Creator Spirit Come by Paul Goodman

  • Brian Jani (7/12/2014 11:41:00 AM)


    this is very impressive poetry, i was encapsulated in the moment of reading. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: magic, august, son, beautiful, journey, autumn, flower, music, spring, rain, dream, night



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003



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