By Josephine Jacobsen
At night, alone, the animals came and shone.
The darkness whirled but silent shone the animals:
The lion the man the calf the eagle saying
Sanctus which was and is and is to come.
The sleeper watched the people at the waterless wilderness’ edge;
The wilderness was made of granite, of thorn, of death,
It was the goat which lightened the people praying.
The goat went out with sin on its sunken head.
On the sleeper’s midnight and the smaller after hours
From above below elsewhere there shone the animals
Through the circular dark; the cock appeared in light
Crying three times, for tears for tears for tears.
High in the frozen tree the sparrow sat. At three o’clock
The luminous thunder of its fall fractured the earth.
The somber serpent looped its coils to write
In scales the slow snake-music of the red ripe globe.
To the sleeper, alone, the animals came and shone,
The darkness whirled but silent shone the animals.
Just before dawn the dove flew out of the dark
Flying with green in her beak; the dove also had come.
Josephine Jacobsen, “The Animals” from In the Crevice of Time: New and Collected Poems. Copyright © 1995 by Josephine Jacobsen. Reproduced with the permission of The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Source: In the Crevice of Time: New and Selected Poems (1995)
More Poems about Living
We gathered in a field southwest of town,
several hundred hauling coolers
and folding chairs along a gravel road
dry in August, two ruts of soft dust
that soaked into our clothes
and rose in plumes behind us.
By noon we could discern their massive coils
How to Triumph Like a Girl
I like the lady horses best,
how they make it all look easy,
like running 40 miles per hour
is as fun as taking a nap, or grass.
I like their lady horse swagger,
after winning. Ears up, girls, ears up!
But mainly, let’s be honest,...
More Poems about Relationships
When I say But mother, Black or not Black,
Of course you are polyethnic, your look does not change
Though it does harden, a drying clay bust
Abandoned or deliberately incomplete,
All the features carved in
Except the eyes. What I’m trying—
I mean—You are an...
“Un Tintero,” Inkwell
Anger is the other person inside
mi garganta, my throat.