Whose Gesture Summons
always for her, in fear & joy for her
whose gesture summons ever when I grieve
me back and is my mage and minister
–John Berryman, from “Canto Amor”
Awed and purified
By the burning mercy
Of true love’s voice:
Vanquished and judged
By the ineffable
Justice of her countenance:
We dare not speak. We know not how.
A season of ice-storms it has been:
Love-pangs, anger, dark infernal rages,
Strong drink and tears that will not come.
But heaven’s wisdom walks
In the bleak December night
Past the black nerves of trees
Under the cold and speechless stars.
Her eyes give life to him who loves,
Who sings her praises endlessly.
Lady of light, teach us to honor thee,
Forsaking all rebellion,
All base desires, brash chatter,
All ignoble thought.