Today's poem is by Gary Copeland Lilley

Sermon of the Dreadnaught

The guitar: I take communion
daily in this shack of a church

with a moaners' bench rubbed
smooth by repentant backsliders.

I listen to the seventh note,
graced by God, it is my battle-ax,

a joyful noise no more modern
than that old-time religion

cooking on the woodstove
in my grandmother's kitchens.

Holy ghosted, I have been washed
in the blackwater cypress swamp

that flows inside my guitar.
A solid top, and I play it righteous

as any stingy brim disciple that ever
has played a small town bus-stop,

and I got a missing canine tooth
from the right side of my mouth

and now my gospel is cobalt blue.
I remember the purity of the old guys,

Lucky Strike smokers and homebrew
drinkers with open tunings, sanctified

imperfections, scarred and battered
harmonies. They have introduced me

to the hollering haints who hold
late night prayer service in my guitar.

I believe in the palm oil that anoints
the guitar. I believe in life as sure

as I believe in death. I confess
the ancestor spirits and their love

accompanies me. The bloodline
has dressed me in that glorious suit

that we only wear when we are
our true selves. In the ascending heat

there is a train of guitar moments,
boxcars of dualities in the everyday

choices that we make. I have been
delivered, blessed by this guitar

that brought me home from forty years
in the urban American deserts,

back to the piney woods of Carolina,
this old rugged guitar, my cross

to bear, this everlasting church
of the mule-driving sharecroppers.

Copyright © 2017 Gary Copeland Lilley All rights reserved
from The Bushman's Medicine Show
Lost Horse Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

Archives  Web Weekly Features  About Verse Daily  FAQs  Submit to Verse Daily  Follow Verse Daily on Twitter

Copyright © 2002-2017 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved