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