Peter Cole

For a Theophoric Figure
December 14, 2015 Cole Peter

For a Theophoric Figure

Allen Grossman, in memoriam

(1935–2014)

 

Strange how first things dawn on us
late in the game,
again and again.
Just last week, for instance,
I learned
of a young man’s lines that appeared on a page,

black flames on a blaze of white—
early June,
the year I was born:
The bell pursues me, they said, it is time
to sigh in the ears of my children.
They did,
and do still, though their maker has died,
and I, a scribe to that living word
he carried toward his distant God
across diasporas of imperfection,
try now to lift it ever
so slightly higher, or longer on high,
to honor,
as I’m able, that force
he rode for the span of more than his life
out of the Eden of his mind like a river….

 

Peter Cole’s most recent book of poems is Hymns & Qualms: New and Selected Poems and Translations (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)