In spite of the foul gutters and tenements,
in spite of the fact no one is listening
amid the din and desolation,
the anonymity and estrangement,
some truths still slip through the gate
disguised as dreams or anxious poems
or a sudden look. At the flea market
tattered photographs saved in boxes
will be sold to anyone with a few coins
along with old postcards from the past
with the good news shared in faded ink.
Many are afraid, many have lost hope,
yet the old ideas keep getting through—
a suitcase full of leaves, a violin with
a human voice, eyes quick with candle flame.
At night cold pipes clang coded messages
of joy and light in the meaningless dark.
A Little Blessing
The butterfly suffers
From anxiety attacks
And the puffy sparrow
Weeps sadly because
Her mate did not return
To the white birdhouse
And she does not know
What’s become of him.
He’s addicted to clover.
Fox whispers he never tells
The truth, pleasant or bad.
It’s okay, I tell them all,
There is good news—
The sun is shining today
And the breeze is warm.
Butterfly opens her wings
But does not fly away—
Instead flutters and graces
My shoulder. The sparrow
Takes a little hop toward me
And grasshopper and fox
Come closer. Together
We all join in a benediction
And I thank them for their blessing,
Their kindness and goodness, too,
As if I were Saint Francis
And we were all together
On a sunny hillside in Assisi
In the world of ten thousand joys
And ten thousand sorrows.
Richard Jones is the editor of Poetry East. His most recent books are Avalon (Green Linden Press, 2020) and Stranger on Earth (Copper Canyon Press, 2020).