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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, October 17, 2017.
About this Poem 
“This poem was started on my birthday as I was thinking about my mother who died in 2013—that she may really be happier in heaven. The title is from a Christian prayer for the dead. The afterlife is contemplated in a range of beliefs, and for me the idea of returning to the celestial is very powerful.”
—Patricia Spears Jones
 

May Perpetual Light Shine

We have encountered storms 
Perfect in their drench and wreck
 
Each of us bears an ornament of grief
A ring, a notebook, a ticket torn, scar
It is how humans know their kind—
 
What is known as love, what can become  
the heart’s food stored away for some future
Famine
 
Love remains a jewel in the hand, guarded
Shared fragments of earth & air   drift & despair.
 
We ponder what patterns matter other than moons and tides:
musical beats—rumba or waltz or cha cha cha
cosmic waves like batons furiously twirling
colors proclaiming sparkle of darkness
as those we love begin to delight
in the stars embracing
 

 

Copyright © 2017 by Patricia Spears Jones. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 17, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Patricia Spears Jones. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 17, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Patricia Spears Jones

Patricia Spears Jones

Patricia Spears Jones, a longtime resident of New York City, is the author of A Lucent Fire: New & Selected Poems (White Pine Press, 2015).

by this poet

poem

And I am full of worry I wrote to a friend
Worry, she replied about what—love, money, health?

All of them, I wrote back. It’s autumn, the air is clear
and you hear death music—the rattle of leaves swirling

the midnight cat howling, a newborn baby’s 3 am
call for food or help or heart’s

poem

Ghostly falls from the fifteenth floor
Feathers leaking/ the pillow speaking

How the sleeper's nightly pounding
Made the pillow yelp and moan

Poor sleeper heard these comments
Angered threw said pillow into

An ugly summer night's air

The pillow had little

poem
Fruit from one vine tangles with another
Making a mess of the intended harvest, yet
the lack of calculation is welcome
 
that accident that shifts bodies from shadows
into a locus of light midday bright & caustic
wounds un-healed   newsreel cameras trap
 
this old & angry man in a bespoke suit lifting
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