Sole Blessing

By J. Allyn Rosser b. 1957
To say screw them, to be screw-them
bent on one thing all but lost,
one music or mystery,
beyond all the necessary
incidental snaggings of the heart;

to train the whole soul’s beam
on a solitary hill, or on it
a special kind of rock or creeper;
to be sated just by saxophone;
to want nothing but your eyes

lifelong to study Scottish otters:
the snub, slippery-whiskered snout;
the way they intertwine in threes
at play, indistinguishably bound,
long sleek backs submerging away...

To make of this your being’s aim,
its joy, and know by pulse and viscus
the word joy. No gifts but thine
to thyself: thou canst, if thou list,
single out, make good, one wish.

This from the dumb lips of an old god
who with one endless, misty hand
holds out to us too much to love,
and with the other—crooked-fingered,
crazed with veins—some nights and days.

“Sole Blessing” from Misery Prefigured by J. Allyn Rosser. © 2001 by J. Allyn Rosser; reproduced by permission of Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Source: Misery Prefigured (Southern Illinois University Press, 2001)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet J. Allyn Rosser b. 1957

Subjects Relationships, Love, Religion, God & the Divine, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 J. Allyn Rosser

Biography

J. Allyn Rosser was born in Pennsylvania and attended Middlebury College in Vermont as well as the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a doctorate. Her works include Bright Moves (1990), which won the Morse Poetry Prize, and Misery Prefigured (2001), winner of the Crab Orchard Award. In 2007 she was awarded The New Criterion Poetry Prize for a new book of poems entitled Foiled Again, published in the Fall of 2007. . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Religion, God & the Divine, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.