Poem with Blue Agapanthus

Noam Scheindlin in Warscapes:

Palestine-april-2011-123The 17th Century Kabbalist, Nathan of Gaza, speculated that before the world came into being, there were, in the endlessness of existence, two lights: the one, active, thinking, with the impetus to create; the other passive, concealed and full in itself. When the first light contracted itself to make room for creation, the second light resisted and remained unmoved. It is this second light that became the force we think of as evil in the world. In this new poem by Meena Alexander, which, she tells us, was written during the recent bombing of Gaza, while she was reading the poet Nellie Sachs, nothing seems to hold still, as unity and becoming vie for the world.


When the instruments of war are melted into fish hooks,
When the factories of death are finally stilled
When evil is swallowed up in a hot wind
That strikes our names into the base of the uncharted sea,
A garden fed by the streams of longing will rise up.
In limestone crannies the forget- me- not takes root
And how quickly the sky- blue agapanthus,
Flower of all love, restores itself.


Search for the laurel — tree of flight and metamorphosis,
Bruised alphabets are cut into its bark,
They shine with red resin, glow in the dark.
In the shade of that tree you will find your child.
His clothing wet with sea salt
He crouches, picture book in hand, utterly bewildered,
A kite string tangled in his hair.
Go find him there, Beloved, wordless, waiting.

More here.