Her Lord conducts her rhythm

with hands flowing over a harp.

He composes her words,

with bony, piano fingers.


She kisses a flute in the morning.

At midday, she readies the cymbals

and the brass horns. At dusk,

she pounds the drums and timbrels.


She had one God and one lover,

now there is silence in her skin

and a multitude of solitudes.

Night visits, brings its own violin.



Paul Dickey's first full length poetry manuscript They Say This is How Death Came Into the World was published by Mayapple Press in January, 2011. His poetry has appeared in Verse Daily, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, Southern Poetry Review, Pleaides, 32Poems, Bellevue Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review and online at Linebreak, among other online and print publications. A second book, Wires Over the Homeplace was published by Pinyon Publishing in October, 2013. 


This poem seems to me to have been an attempt to apply Old Testament imagery and voice to create a contemporary state of alienation. The "starting" image in the poem was the "hands flowing over a harp" which served as the "river" and "bones" of the poem as it developed over many years.  The rhyme needed to be important in the poem but not overpowering. This was a difficult poem for me to cohere the images into the necessary sense of unity, and thus required many drafts. I kept coming back to it over a period of over thirty years before eventually it satisfied me.



Copyright 2009