Monday Poem

Xu Bing’s Phoenixes at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

standing under Phoenix and his lofted bride Phoenix-big
both newly risen in the nave of a church
at a quarter of the height from floor to vault
I am small and still beneath their static glide

a cross in the distance where they might have perched
is centered on choirs set on either side
as simple as the nexus of sinners' faults
at the crux of the moment their songs might rise

these ninety foot creatures made of sweat and steel
and of light and of industry and touch and feel
and of hoses and spades and of wire and sight
and of chain and of pipes and of silent nights
and of canisters pulleys ducts and vents
and of reason for rebirth to where innocence went
and of hope and contrition and of blood and bone
all Phoenixes together here un-alone

by Jim Culleny

The Phoenixes