Vita Sancti Rosemary, Ray Corvi

Charles Hood, It Matches My Nails




Operas, tea dances, dress fittings,
the coronation of a pope,
but when you had to curtsy
before the king and queen,
you tripped and almost fell
despite practicing the stunt
for hours at a time.

No one seemed to notice that,
or later still when you had gone.
The answer to your riddle came pretty pat,
neither rainbow nor diapason
could mask the dawning fact.

So, you say:
I was what I saw…
Yet I am not what I am, you see:
Rank in antique light,
strangled by abstraction
in the quadrangle
where god is said to be.
For this I well now know:
Esse est percipi:
To be is to be perceived.

This she says from her perspective:
Ground to raw infinity
by the inexorable mechanism
of celestial machinery,
the sky that turns and turns on us
as if it were our enemy.

Remember when we used to rake leaves
            & burn ’em?

            but maybe not…

What scribe will be assigned
to write your sad biography?
Take yourself in hand
at the height of all this butchery,
until an asphodel has bloomed
on the matte side of the moon
where you while away the hour
out of which you have been hewn
silent as a sculpture
immersed in quietude
two holes carved
in your diapsid skull.

All the shades and specters
rise for a standing O:

O to cry, to cry out,
O for oblivion,
O you whom they extol,
O Rosemary,
O Rose,

my Selene,
my Luna, 
my Cynthia, 
my Muse,

a living world
I distinguish
from an object in the sky:

Are you a spirit or idea?

Don’t answer yet,
let’s salt the truth with one more lie,

these darling scars are our distraction––

When you held out your arms

birds    went               to                                 them.

Ray Corvi

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