Poetry Porch: Forgiveness


For I Have Lived Like a Dusty Angel
by Michael Blumenthal

And the muddy waters have washed over me,
coating my large wings with soot, clouding my eyes,
and the raging blood has coursed through my veins,
flooding the flatlands of virtue and decency,
ravaging the structures, inundating the houses,
shattering the windows, and I have grown heavy
with my deeds, and light with desire,
been betrayer and betrayed, wounder and wounded,
taken my turn at whatever was possible,
bad father good father infidel satyr,
been decent, forgiving, tender, wounding,
whoremonger exile patriot rake.
I have shaken the birches, made love 
under the sycamore, wept beneath the willow, 
I have trembled with desire
beside the mock orange (What good am I
to anyone, I ask, if Iím not good
to myself? Why pray to an invisible God
if I canít please the beckoning flesh?)
And what more can a man ask of his body
but that it confess to everything? Sad bird, 
this human one, but happy in exile: a confusion 
of tongues, a mottle of trembling needs,
the dust still gathering on these broken wingsó
the darkness, the hunger, the flickering soot.

Copyright © 1999 by Michael Blumenthal. 
Reprinted from Dusty Angel, by Michael Blumenthal, with the permission of  BOA Editions Ltd.