Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday

Arkansas Good Friday
by Franz Wright


Everyone knows what the cross means, or will
----------before long

It is the body

It resembles the first stick-figure depictions
---------of it found in caves (some
---------with the heads of birds)

Depictions reproduced to this day by young children
---------just learning to draw

Its aerodynamic properties ought to be obvious I suppose

to us,
the wingless

How many years we have been carrying it
And before too much longer it will reveal itself
the source of a forsakenness and agony
nobody would have dared foresee
I saw it
over twenty years ago

Every day as the darkness came down on New York
I went up to my father and saw

(More and more I meet him
in the mirror, it is his blood I have
to clean up if I shave--...)

And I was born just as I found him there

a little bald
toothless man
not for long though
(I refer to Mother Morphine's left tit)


Now I'll tell you something you don't know, you hurt
by the past, just like me, crushed
by the future and blind
to the present,
to the moment--

But there is nothing you don't know
I got up every morning here
a long way from home
and cried for ten minutes
then showered and dressed
and got back down to work
assisted, on occasion, by one or two magical mystery


I can tell you this
Who dwarfs my pain I cling to
the genuinely broken
and poor
And I cling to the Before
The spirit face
behind the face
yearning for light
the water and the light
And I am flowing back to the Before, the infinite
years which transpired while I was not
here, and did not know
I was not

---------I came just like you
from inconceivableness, the eternal
before-we-arrived, flowing
from God's mouth, and come here to say
"this world" and
-------------"God," as if
they needed
-------- And what lies beyond is no doubt the beginning
I wouldn't know but I'm going
to find out
The what lies beyond
this loneliness and panic
I call dying, time, remorse, this cold
and purifying
fire, which hurts so much, which burns
away the world and all I was
who walked and breathed and spoke
how real it all seemed
for a few years, but I was always
immortal and will be
once more, when I return
to the infinite time
which elapsed before I was conceived;
when the heavenward face is burned away
and its scared eyes
and its tears
and its euphoria, which no one can imagine
(wrong: someone in love can imagine!)
And I have heard God's silence like the sun
now I long to return to it
no matter my infantile clinging
to this gorgeous material of such early wisteria and
---------lilacs, the wind
in the redbud and light-giving new heart-shaped leaves
music visible if completely unheard, I'll return
The angel's going to raise his arms and sing that time is
---------no more
nor tears: that numbered
sea of them is gone--
now there is a new sea, a new earth, a new sky--
and I will know what to say at the end: What end?
And I can add I found this world sufficiently miraculous
----------for me, before I'm changed.

From GOD'S SILENCE. - Franz Wright 2006


nate said...

Thanks for posting this, Nick. We should be getting a copy of Wright's book in our library soon, but this is very appropo (for the season, that is)... good stuff!

Brian Campbell said...

I love Franz Wright's stuff. Thanks for posting this. I should be getting a copy of this book in *my* library soon.

Hey, I wanted to invite you to the Lawn Chair Soiree this coming Wednesday night at Papetrie Nota Bene. Will be reading along with Elise Moser and Claude Lalumiere. Details on my blog... down the side margin.

Nick said...


I've got to get me a copy & yes it was chosen for the occasion. Glad that you enjoyed the read!


My wife & I have some friends visiting from Switzerland all this week. Re: Wednesday - may I take a rain check? I would very much like to attend a Lawn Chair Soiree in the near future. I look forward to it.

Carol Peters said...

Thanks, Nick. I found this post only moments before I duplicated it on my blog. I linked to yours instead. Great poem.

Nick said...

Carol, thanks for the link and the traffic!

bevjackson said...

I'm some of Carol's traffic :-)
I'm going to poke around some. Hi!

Nick said...

Bev, thanks for dropping in & poke around all you want!

Patry Francis said...

Very powerful poem. I, too, am a fan of Wright's. Thank you.

Nick said...

My pleasure, Patry.

likenakedvenus said...

big fan----great post--agradece