Or I Guess It Is the Handkerchief of the Lord

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
I knew very well I could not
Praise him.
I cast for comfort I can no more get.
I set it in a blaze.

You did not come.

Deep questioning, which probes to endless dole.
The heavy trouble, the bewildering care,
The light that loses, the night that wins—
Wild Nights—Wild Nights!

Passing away, said my God, passing away
The tongueless vigil, and all the pain.
Missing me one place search another.

Closer yet I approach you,
The little wheel moved by the Grace of God.

When the stars begin to fall—
O weary time whose stars are few—
Across the barren azure pass to God,
And bathe there in God’s sight,

Perhaps the one I want so much will rise, will rise with some of you.

Note: “Or I Guess It Is the Handkerchief of the Lord” is a cento.

Shannon Holman, New York, 2001