To Pour the Wine, But Not to Drink

To pour the wine, but not to drink,
he waits proudly at his table,
beside him fire, water, and pale grief,
his guests all turned to stone.

A banquet of bright watercress
dripping from the stream,
warm loaves from cradle-ovens,
foreheads blessed by floured thumbs,
a soft rain falling down.

Succulent in the moist night air,
the fatted lamb on platter waits
dreaming of his mother,
a restless ewe upon a barren slope.

Distant � not one thing is near,
meaning within meaning
lost in the folds of rich white linen,
a caravan of hands that worried there.

Hills that dream, stone hearths,
fallen trees alive with spirits,
wooden wheels across a dusty plain,
stars that know each other�s names.

His servants arrive in a weary clatter,
set foot on the icy ground,
daughters of sons, sons of mothers,
riddled tongues, a gathering of nations,
fenceposts tied burning to their backs,
they pour the wine, but not to drink,
while their master looks grimly on.

November 12, 2005

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