De Profundis: The Seed

By Jennifer Ferraro

To bear the loneliness
of your own voice,
you must be buffeted by trees
and carried by winds
toward some ceiling you imagined;
Your voice can never stop hunting…
It is a grief-soaked cloak;
It is an earth where you have become lost;
It batters the rock of your self-image
as the gong of simplest truth;
Deep in the field of the belly
where the children have been huddled
together for warmth,
you had to arrive at the longest winter
before the hardest won spring
could begin—
Savage cold had to clear
the last brown stalk, so you would yield
your attention at last—
There had to be frozen anonymous gusts
bellowing over the treetops, carrying
no name;
There had to be days
when the snow mocked you
with its purity, waking you from dreams
in which dirty words were said
to a white world where you were separate;
There had to be
a cry that reached you, entering you and working
quietly within your blood, carrying with it
intimations of a journey;
There had to be houses on the journey,
and each house a body, inhabited and warm,
rich with human presence and voices
which did not speak to you.
You had to be a moonless night, a pilgrim in a foreign land
before the seed could find you hospitable—for it was in you
all along waiting for this, this night where you are helpless
and must dig deep for some spark of light;
You had to conceive a present buried like a seed
in all your sufferings and lack, and weep at last,
not anemic stolen tears soon to evaporate
but sob, wholesome and whole and redeeming
out of the depths of sorrow, for the seed that
was waiting for you, in you,
for the unknown life that was only waiting
for your death.

© Jennifer Ferraro, 2002—All rights reserved.

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