the melodeon of civil peace


This silver light-pull on the black pathway
like a miniature dragon or
sperm whale (grey Minotaur
immured in Ocean labyrinth)... Ariadne

dropped it here for me, maybe
(bowline from safety net
strung beneath Golden Gate,
or strand of hair turned silvery

along the wheel of time & gravity).
In him the root of the matter,
wrote Cotton Mather –
he meant that turbulent sectary,

mild Roger Williams.  An apple root
it was, the legend holds;
clasped in earth-folds,
his buried limbs became sweet fruit

(at Prospect Terrace, where his bones
were laid).  Sweet peace,
he called it; a release
into that harmony among distinctions

Roger christened Providence, & we
e pluribus unum
a spiritual freedom
planted in magnanimity;

a willingness to mingle tares
& wheat, so infant conscience
tried by experience
find its own starry stairs


& not by force, but gentleness
its ripening prepare
to climb past nightmare
to the melodeon of civil peace.

So gather up stray iris-strands,
Henry.  That self-same
moonlit trail (slim
path between wrath & Rhode Island’s

liberté) was Alighieri’s narrow way
between Imperium,
Ecclesia... low hum
of Jonah-Beatrice (out of the grey

cloud-surf of Ocean River).
Garden & wilderness,
Solomon’s shepherdess...
airy Sophia in Hopkins windhover...

O delicate light-threads, pendentive
on twin pillars, anges
d’orange...  Who arranges
your catenary smiles?  You dive

with her dive, you rise with her rise,
surfacing... Hail, Jonah!
Out of the whale, Jeanne-
Arc!  The mercy in your eyes

– wonder in ours!  A gold mandorla
where the twin points meet –
meld into one – & greet
the Union with green palm... Alleluiah!


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