Stephen Mead

Vessel of Light

Your belly is a lantern globe
of a thousand handstands
all luminously invisible.
If a palm is laid upon it that palm would glow
like fingers around the cone of a flashlight’s beam.

What warmth of melon-pink, cantaloupe-peach
from the white linen.
What a pearl from the oyster shape of grace
seas still murmur of.

They are the sound of rain
when just a little bit under the surface
of an old metal barrel.
They are the colors of the whirling ripples
seen also from underneath.

The rain is so steady it is itself radiance
and the suggestion of lightning with the percussion
far from thunderous.

I hear you in the streams
shaping the shelter of a lustrous umbrella’s wan beacon
of promise, an absolute sand cove of rhythm and salt.

On the altar one should set shells, pomegranates
and clear glasses of water
as candles contain nothing else
but the melting which is glory.

Yes, becoming Other, you too are the sails prophesy:
sails, new moons, and the boat
its own voyage unseen beyond the pale.

Stephen Mead © 2017

Figura Rerum


It is sprig-simple, spade-shaped:
Oregano from the herb garden,
that arbor’s door.

Lavender lines it,
sun drying against the wood’s peeling lime
Chamomile reaches and Wort steeped in Rosemary.
The tendrils are strong enough,
vine of a heart, branch over branch,
Olives are the ceiling of.

They unearth a cloister, those treasures
of tapestries, and more than one thousand
stained glass books, each cover a Rose Window
opening in.

Further, further, are the scripts for our lives
which we do not know we illuminate.
and at the center is a shadow naming us better
than the names we’ve been called,
but with a finger to the lips.

Now we can see the ruby mouth
of Artemisia’s blood
where the court’s cords cut her fingers
and she was raped once more to bleed out
Judith’s legend so we also could learn.

That canvas restored her
as will the painting at the root of this pain,
this landscape of words arch-loving
as carvings are
charitable to scars.

Stephen Mead © 2017