High Tension Lines across a Landscape

There are diagrams on stilts all wired together
Over the hill and the wind and out of sight.
There is a scar in the trees where they walk away
Beyond me. There are signs of something
Nearly God (or at least most curious)
About them. I think those diagrams are not
At rest.
            I think they are a way of ciphering God:
He is the hugest socket and all his miracles
Are wired behind him scarring the hill and the wind
As the waterfall flies roaring to his city
On the open palms of the diagram.
                                                   There is
Shining, I suppose, in that city at night
And measure for miracles, and wheels whirling
So quick-silver they seem to be going backwards.
And there’s a miracle already. But I
Went naked through his wood of diagrams
On a day of the rain beside me to his city.

When I kissed that socket with my wet lip
My teeth fell out, my fingers sprouted chives,
And what a bald head chewed on my sick heart!

John Ciardi, “High Tension Lines Across a Landscape” from From Time To Time (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1951). Used with the permission of the Ciardi Family Publishing Trust.
Source: The Collected Poems of John Ciardi (University of Arkansas Press, 1997)
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