Charles Simic, ‘Wooden Church’ (2001)


It’s just a boarded-up shack with a steeple
Under the blazing summer sky
On a back road seldom traveled
Where the shadows of tall trees
Graze peacefully like a row of gallows,
And crows with no carrion in sight
Caw to each other of better days.

The congregation may still be at prayer.
Farm folk from flyspecked photos
Standing in rows with their heads bowed
As if listening to your approaching steps.
So slow they are, you must be asking yourself
How come we are here one minute
And in the very next gone forever?

Try the locked door, then knock once.
The crows will stay out of sight.
High above you, there is the leaning spire
Still feeling the blow of the last storm.
And then the silence of the afternoon. . .
Even the unbeliever must feel its force.

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~ by ohkrapp on January 27, 2008.

2 Responses to “Charles Simic, ‘Wooden Church’ (2001)”

  1. The Indian to His Love – W.B. Yeats
    The island dreams under the dawn
    And great boughs drop tranquillity;
    The peahens dance on a smooth lawn,
    A parrot sways upon a tree,
    Raging at his own image in the enamelled sea.

    Here will we moor our lonely ship
    And wander ever with woven hands,
    Murmuring softly lip to lip,
    Along the grass, along the sands,
    Murmuring how far away are the unquiet lands:

    How we alone of mortals are
    Hid under quiet boughs apart,
    While our love grows an Indian star,
    A meteor of the burning heart,
    One with the tide that gleams, the wings that gleam and dart,

    The heavy boughs, the burnished dove
    That moans and sighs a hundred days:
    How when we die our shades will rove,
    When eve has hushed the feathered ways,
    With vapoury footsole by the water’s drowsy blaze.

  2. Wunsch, Indianer zu werden – Franz Kafka
    Wenn man doch ein Indianer waere, gleich bereit, und auf dem rennenden Pferde, schief in der Luft, immer wieder kurz erzitterte ueber dem zitternden Boden, bis man die Sporen liess, denn es gab keine Sporen, bis man die Zuegel wegwarf, denn es gab keine Zuegel, und kaum das Land vor sich als glatt gemaehte Heide sah, schon ohne Pferdehals und Pferdekopf.

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