Thursday, February 11, 2016

Listening to Sufjan Stevens’ “No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross”

Listening to Sufjan Stevens’
“No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross”

What we long for
has turned from us,
revealing its long backside

and its even longer shadow.
And still,
even here,

a voice as pristine
as distilled water
flows. It murmurs

in this desolate place,
which we find so familiar
and so terrible

The voice causes
that which we long for
to pause,

to glance back for a moment
into the agonizing wake
it leaves. From

that raised-up place,
from that agony and blood
above us, there

is movement and recognition.
There is a moment of
distraction from what

must be accomplished
and fulfilled.
In this awful place, in

this long and exhausting
realm, it is the voice
that sustains.

It ripples and
cuts through the murk.
It is then—

the curtain torn
the hands wrung out,
the knees bruised to

the color of monarch-wings—
the song ends,
and we can stand up

from the dark, bloody earth
in a groping manner
and shiver.

                                                                         Copyright (c) 2016


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