The Alpha Rite: See the end at the beginning and the beginning at the end

The last poem I posted, “The Omega Rite,” is something of this poem’s inverse twin. Their structures and themes come from the same place but move in almost opposite directions before meeting again. They are, then, the alpha and the omega of the poems I’ve written over the last year’s project, encompassing their themes and language and providing a sense of the large form I have chosen for these poems to dwell in. I want to say just a thing or two about form and content here.

By using the mirrors of the “The Omega Rite” and “The Alpha Rite” as the beginning and end I am hoping to provide a map for my readers. The themes in the central stanzas of each poem carry the content of much of my poetry. These include places in the world, the wonder of our terrestrial cohabitants, our deaths, our fears, our loves, our attachments, and the gift that we can be. It should be possible for a reader to follow the thread from a stanza in “The Omega Rite” through a set of poems that is stitched into its inverse parallel in “The Alpha Rite.” I’ll have to take a picture of the structure to show you though. It’s rather visual and something that helps me weave through my own mind.

Finally, this seems to me something I didn’t know about myself as a creative person – I love to create architecture and form for my work. I’ve found myself thinking in terms of arches and spans, threads and stitches, and hands holding one another in the form of words and their arrangement. A small thing perhaps, but something I know about myself now that I didn’t before.


“The Alpha Rite”

One day, my life will be a gift to others,
a deed without an actor
any of you will know
as you now know me. 

A new subject
an old and new

a tether to my form shining at you
in my son’s face turned slightly to the side
as he asks a question,
            the shadow of his brow over his eyes,

or my hot body with yours
under high-thread-count linens
surrounded by white walls and the sound
            of lawnmowers, traffic, or our memories,
the hallways populated by shadows,

 or the feeling of the sun pouring liquid light on your shoulders,
          the flaming disc forming a cornice behind your mane,
a hemlock bough in your palms
                        and your lips nearly to mine again,

or the doe lying still with her life spilled in the snow,
            some kind of allegory there of me driving away and shutting doors,

or the tallus on the ridge, or the ruins in the barren,
or the pondhawks perched on the blueberry bush in the fen, 

or my voice thanking you for giving me your hand
or voice again and again with laughter as we milled about,
            making the music only you and I can make.

You and I can make music.
It is my greatest hope
to hear it,

to listen.

Please hear it. 

You can hear it. But you cannot hear it unless
I cease speaking,
cease reciting,
these lessons.

You will hear it. There is a

This is the end.
This is that

I, a mortal creation am listening to

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