Today's poem is by Lawrence Raab


So that's life, then: things as they are?
—Wallace Stevens

Once there was music that could tear
your heart open and heal it
before you took another breath.
That was what art could do.
Kings and princes, bishops and popes

all knew this, as they knew
how to get what they wanted and keep
what they had. Mostly what happens
to people doesn't happen by chance.
You spend your life in the mud,

you eat the same thin soup each night,
and then on Sunday a thousand angels
start to sing. The walls are ablaze
with suffering and forgiveness.
And you think this is what you'll see

when you die. When you yearn,
this is what you yearn for. Or something
like it, the version you've been told
you can afford. They were smart to keep
belief and understanding at a distance,

go for the big effects, everything you get
when you're through with this world,
the one you got stuck with—potatoes and soup,
the morning and the afternoon,

the afternoon and the evening,
things as they are.

Copyright © 2008 Lawrence Raab All rights reserved
from Solo Café
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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