VII from “History” (a crown)
For ages church decree had made things run;
discarding set perspectives, as if they
were now, in fact, misleading, most would say
“was heresy,” for sure. Thus, anyone
who dared believe the Earth moved round the sun
might find himself locked up on that same day
and subsequently tortured. By the way,
recounting such misfortune couldn’t be fun,
at least for those who surely knew the rack
(condoned by educated clergy) was
enough to send a sane mind out to sea.
Like they, we, too, may doubt what we can’t see,
and swear our closest star is as it does:
once round our sphere, then, up again, it’s back.
When Othello found his wife at a loss
for words that might appease him and gain her
freedom from his hold, the crowd saw better
what would happen. Iago had tricked his boss
with horrid skill, thrown fringed shadows across
his mind, made him Desdemona’s killer.
Now, there are hand marks only upon her:
they and his suicide render our pause.
Iago’s come. A falling of angels
that flies along the landscape, chillingly,
whispers spurs into the ears of leaders,
conjuring up the drone that soon mangles,
displaces hundreds to suit a lunacy:
scans those in flight for horror-scope feeders.
Adrift, not too much held, but like a kite,
its string let go of, not quite set to fly.
that takes off anyway toward just that height
it needs to not fall down, now dancing by
on updrafts, bits of breeze, comes love. “I try”
he tells them-some do hear- “to see
or grasp in special ways its hope. Just why
it still remains a brass ring thing to me
is clearly-there no better words-a mystery.”
Just so, it fluttered there as if on wings,
a blur at first, not much to see or sense;
although, with motions, up-downs, wide circlings
about the sky becoming more intense,
I now had cause for hope–its routings, hence,
grown less circuitous, more fixed in time.
It was as if some longing now immense,
yet tender all the same, no more a crime
than breathing had, in fact, become a thing sublime.
Robert Burr received his B.A. in English Literature in June of 1998. He studied under William Matthews and Marilyn Hacker and left in 2006. Mr. Burr taught Freshman Composition at several CUNY schools between 1999 and 2008. Chapbook: Trading Bits of Dream, Ridgeway Press