Pauline Trio


One could sing October rain,
and one had a gift for plain 
chant and prayer, a domain
unsettled by love or its
intimate other. What fits

with this theology no
one dares to say. These twins so
perfectly in tune must know
"the modesty of nature,"
the perfect art and texture

that sustains the other name.
Paris could not be the frame
for loyal Romans, their shame
worn upon their bodies light
as air, and nothing is quite

as endurable as death.
Those who have taken this path
move with an abiding breath.
Such a common dance this dense 
intention of love's expense. 

Keep this for that special hour
when the Roman drops his sour
gift for abandoned splendour;
et c'est la nuit, the footfall
that troubles that other Paul.


I have learned the felicity of fire,
how in its wake
something picks at buried seed.
Think this a most festive deed,
nature's mistake,
borrowed flare of a village dance, satire
of the sun's course, light you read
through waste, repair. Death had freed
that first opaque
habitation (what a widening gyre),
an aspen ache,
a lustrous scar that might lead 
to a hidden grove, or breed
astonishment in its loss; all entire,
a shaping breath proposes its own pyre.


Solitude guides me
through this minor
moon is my mentor,
one on a spree.
This notion,
night's philanthropy,
courts my favor.
love's predecessor,
sings its tidy
Such gentility
reins all vigor,
all caution.

Jay Wright, "Pauline Trio" from Disorientations: Groundings, published by Flood Editions. Copyright © 2013 by Jay Wright. Reprinted by permission of Jay Wright.