An Annual of the Dark Physics

By Norman Dubie b. 1945 Norman Dubie
The Baltic Sea froze in 1307. Birds flew north
From the Mediterranean in early January.
There were meteor storms throughout Europe.

On the first day of Lent
Two children took their own lives:
Their bodies
Were sewn into goatskins
And were dragged by the hangman’s horse
The three miles down to the sea.
They were given a simple grave in the sand.

The following Sunday, Meister Eckhart
Shouted that a secret word
Had been spoken to him. He preached

That Mary Magdalene
Sought a dead man in the tomb
But, in her confusion, found
Only two angels laughing. . .

This was a consequence of her purity

And her all too human grief.
The Baltic Sea
Also froze in 1303—
Nothing happened that was worthy of poetry.

Norman Dubie, “An Annual of the Dark Physics” from The Mercy Seat: Collected & New Poems 1967-2001 (Copper Canyon Press, 2001). www.coppercanyonpress.org

Source: The Mercy Seat: Collected & New Poems 1967-2001 (Copper Canyon Press, 2001)

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

Poet Norman Dubie b. 1945

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Living, Death, Sorrow & Grieving, Religion, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Norman  Dubie

Biography

Norman Dubie was born in Barre, Vermont in 1945, the son of a radical minister and a nurse. Dubie began writing poetry at age eleven and was influenced by both his father’s Sunday sermons and his mother’s tales of hospital life. Acknowledging his debt as a writer to his parents, Dubie noted in an interview with Poets & Writers magazine that “I got the weirdest introduction to writing from them—my mother, because she would come . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Sorrow & Grieving, Religion, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

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.