April 2 — a new poet the second day of Easter

Monday, April 2  – “Call yourself alive?”

Easter, like Lent in the Christian tradition, unfolds over 40 days;  its stories are alive with hope emerging from grim times.  A poet friend of 40 years lives in and around the wide world, turning what might appear as a blur of hustle and fatigue into depth and wonder.  She notices.  When she writes what has caught her attention, I expect surprises.

When I read her subject line yesterday, “an Easter poem for John,” I let myself slow down and breathe a little.  Then I read Nina Cassian, a new poet for me.  “Temptation” helps me awake into this year’s 40 days of Easter.

Best to read aloud, with pauses and breathing.  Have a blest day this second day of April.

john sj


from: “Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times,” page 48

Call yourself alive?  Look, I promise you
that for the first time you’ll feel your pores opening
like fish mouths, and you’ll actually be able to hear
your blood surging through all those lanes,
and you’ll feel light gliding across the cornea
like the train of a dress. For the first time
you’ll be aware of gravity
like a thorn in your heel,
and your shoulder blades will ache for want of wings.
Call yourself alive?  I promise you
you’ll be deafened by dust falling on the furniture,
you’ll feel your eyebrows turning to two gashes,
and every memory you have — will begin
at Genesis.

By Nina Cassian
27 November 1924 – d. 14 April 2014

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