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About this poet

Laynie Browne is the author of more than ten collections of poetry, most recently, You Envelop Me (Omnidawn, 2017). Her other titles include Practice (Split Level Texts, 2015), The Desires of Letters (Counterpath Press, 2010), Roseate, Points of Gold (dusie books, 2010), The Scented Fox (Wave Books, 2007), Daily Sonnets (Counterpath Press, 2007) and Drawing of a Swan Before Memory (University of Georgia Press, 2005). She lives in Pennsylvania, and teaches poetry at the University of Pennsylvania. 

You Envelop Me [Excerpt]

16


for I have taken refuge in you



A book —whose wings— swallow me

Bird, created from water mixed with sand

Uses of wings, and claws hold oil for lamps 

Conceiving a wing-ed book is beginning to sort one's thoughts

An egg placed under the foot of a bedframe— to steady 

Quills for writing were unknown in Talmudic times 

Birds of three hundred and sixty-five hues read

Headlines or psalms as an indistinguishable combination of 

Affliction, concentration and praise

"Flee as a bird to your mountain."


Note on poem from You Envelop Me: Numbers for poems and text at the beginning of each poem in italics are taken from psalms (various translations). These particular psalms, often identified as Nachman's "healing psalms" were chosen by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810, Ukraine) and are traditionally read during mourning. This practice exemplifies Nachmans' use of sacred texts as meditative tools, and highlights his religious philosophy which revolves around intimacy and direct conversation with divine.

Copyright © 2011 by Laynie Browne. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2011 by Laynie Browne. Used with permission of the author.

Laynie Browne

Laynie Browne is the author of more than ten collections of poetry, most recently, You Envelop Me (Omnidawn, 2017).

by this poet

poem
His unset eyes — containing water — become expression, or color. 
They cloud in changing — though the change is never marked, it 
may eventually be seen.

The cloud is green

His hand is light

He watches this first finding — pulling a hand in and out of a living 
channel.
His newness betokens him all color. He