Still the Heart
—with thanks to Wallace Stevens for the opening line and a half
It's not every day that the world arrangesitself in a poem, though some days it does,
a redbird singing brightly from somewherein the last creases of the night as the sun
braids her cords through the maple's arms,still hidden in the veil of early-edging gold.
This is prayer, whether the mind agrees orthe ear attends, whether the bird has a name
or a tree. Most days, though, it's a worldof creatures and things keeping their own
counsel, the days and nights cycling bywithout any purpose we can ever tell.
And all the while the redbird's simplesong lifts a burst of joy into the rising day,
rhyming the light and tuning the silences.And still the heart sings. [End Page 105]
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Mark S. Burrows is a poet, teacher, and scholar of historical theology. His recent publications include Meister Eckhart's Book of the Heart, with Jon M. Sweeney, and two volumes of German poetry in translation: Rilke's Prayers of a Young Poet (2016) and SAID's 99 Psalms (2013). This poem is from his forthcoming collection, A Chance of Home (2018). A longtime resident of New England, he currently teaches religion and literature at the Protestant University of Applied Sciences in Bochum (Germany). www.msburrows.com