by Jane Beal
now appears in Chantwood Magazine 2 (May 2016)
Posted in A Poet's Education, Epiphany Artists, Images, Music, Observations, tagged " Jane Beal, clavicimbulum, Collaging, Corina Marti, Epiphany Artists, flute, Hildegard von Bingen, Jesus, Marilyn Roland, Unicorn, Victoria Bourne on May 19, 2016| Leave a Comment »
“You are about to begin the adventure of the Unicorn”
Hildegard von Bingen
After you broke the glass with the heel of your wedding shoe I surprised you: I took your hand.
I could not imagine then what marriage would be: sitting at my desk, the window
open to a hot English summer, reading your paper on paleography. Didn’t know I
would learn about the scribe Aldred, writing in the tenth century, his hand untouched by woman. Or how you would see beauty in the Lindisfarne letters: “Everywhere there are twists and turns: stylistic reimaginings, elongations of strokes, inventive ligatures, flourishes and above all elegant variation.”
Couldn’t imagine I would learn about English vernacular minuscule, about the turned-down toe of the ‘t’ that has a lower curve hooked down at the tip. Or the long lower left branch ‘x’ with its lower left stroke extending well below the base-line.
I only knew your smile radiating into my palm, a glass shattered inside a white cloth napkin, and people singing and reaching towards us, and your hair dark, rough as summer winds, your hand.
I stood on the summit
waiting for God,
when a great and mighty wind came
and shook the mountain.
But God was not in the wind.
Then the earth quaked
and shattered the rocks.
But God was not in the quake.
And the fire came,
but God was not in the fire.
Then as I stared
into the mouth of the cave,
the last stones tinkling into silence,
the last charred stick cracking,
a gentle whisper, so still and so small,
Do not flinch from the day’s whisper,
the words on the page, the reverberation
of air. Grip them tight in prickling palms
until your eyes weep flowers.
For there are those who would steal names,
wind dead artists in neat flags
in sterile rooms that none may enter.
Draw your pen from stone. Write the day.
In a castle open to the stars,
a girl, neither princess nor servant,
sews a coat of leaves, red and gold,
threaded with earthscent, cries of crows.
She can’t remember why, but knows
that, come morning, she will wrap herself close
in its moist rustling, crown her locks with frost,
and step her shadow through chestnut lanes.