by Michael Shorb
Struck, the arteries lose eloquence.
Even the hooded man shudders.
Tributaries of power and change
Spill from the vented block
To the stage of statehood.
Ignorance in brown fields abides.
Disrupted elements congeal
Across the silent morning.
Tell me how your God works, scholar.
If he were the snow alone,
focused into concentration,
How should the unsightly,
Body of His Spokesman twitch
To a halt before the multitudes?
He answers: how natural to see enlightened
Men court death, appropriate he who loves
The tree should follow, standing
A still, short time among its
Fallen leaves, hastening
To the root.
And here within this peace
There is no fuel for sorrow.
Flaws that mire
Life exist only in outer rings of ages,
Where the feint and storm of empire
where brittle destinies
Michael Shorb’s work reflects an abiding interest in myth, history, and the lyrical form, as well as a satirical focus on present day trends and events. His poems have appeared in over 100 magazines and anthologies, including The Nation, The Sun, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Queen’s Quarterly.