A long journey of loving
Let the Dolphin Dance
- a note to my daughter
A Poem refers to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
by Maj Ragain
The cape is rainy and cold,
wind steady out of the northeast.
I was up early, coffee,
working at a poem, a response
to Jessica Damen’s painting of her daughter
Rebekah sleeping. Over the child brood
shrouded figures and a ghostly crucifixion,
a Christ drained of blood and light.
Beside the bed a stuffed doll smiles,
wide eyed at nothing.
Rebekah dreams on, wrapped in
a shimmering luminous blanket.
It is always about loving or not loving.
The rest is weeds, vanity, rust, a polished bowl.
I remember you in the yard
Outside this Provincetown window,
Spangled in the July sun,
a flower climbing toward heaven’s gate.
The light is like that in Greece,
knifing shadows, humbling darkness.
The light is Apollo, an activity of spirit.
Salvatore, a writer who lives next door,
just walked in with a steaming bowl
of risotto and striped bass, a gift of the day,
too much for him to eat,
the fish too big, a three footer he caught
yesterday in the Atlantic off Truro.
It is lovely, the taste of this fish
he fought to shore and butchered,
beheaded, hot blood to sand.
I ate its wild life,
the long swim through winter storms above,
the quiet hours in the cold depths
suspended between the moon
and the earth’s iron core.
Yesterday I was anointed.
An Episcopal church, here in Provincetown,
worn and silvered by Atlantic winters,
the outermost church of St. Mary of the Harbor.
After communion at the altar, I rolled in my chair
to the back where a deacon
marked the sign of the cross
on my forehead, her thumb, warm oil.
She lay her hands on my head
and prayed for my soul.
I could not kneel.
I am already humbled,
sitting my days in this tall world.
I came to the father
in the ripeness of my crooked longing.
Hineni, in Hebrew, I am here.
I bow my head. I am here.
The words of Abraham, long ago,
to the same father.
Anointed I am, though I am not certain
what it means, consecration, accepting
the gift, opening the heart, cutting
a small cross in the forehead that
I not forget. May this wound never heal.
These days I seek bewilderment
and little else.
We close up the little cottage today,
load the car, for the move across town.
On the fridge door, I tape a page sized
photo of Ezra Pound taken at
St. Elizabeth’s mental hospital, New Jersey, 1958.
He is standing, hands in pants pockets,
shirt unbuttoned, slight paunch, hairy chest.
His head is thrown back, his mouth open,
as if he is howling, at his jailers,
at his God, at a love whose name has been carried away.
The Cantos can’t save him.
Alba is blackened,
the fields of memory burned to ash.
Another might judge that he is singing.
I believe he is howling,
I am here.
Meg, may the light play around you
eight hundred miles to the west.
May this day bless, teach and protect you.
I Am Here
A response to the poem "Let the Dolphin Dance – A Note to My Daughter Megan Ragain"
Oil on linen
36.75 x 21”