When I Die

We shelter an angel whom we never cease to offend. We ought to be the guardians of that angel.
—Jean Cocteau

A scherzo of thumbnail butterflies, white ones,
Covers the hillside. God is more
Adorable than music. Nevertheless,
On a given morning, as the wind drops,
Music pries Heaven apart from itself,
Like flowers beneath the wings unfolded on them.

Every breeze is self-registering.
This morning, I walked deeper into the hill,
Free of the sun. Midway up the tallest trees,
One leaf alone would stir while all the leaves
On the very same branch remained stock-still.
Apart from itself, Heaven signaled to me.

William Blake was no romantic. He was,
Beyond the arsons of levity and his toe,
The final bulwark of the baroque.
He was the last to oppose, “almost
Successfully,” rebirth on all the wrong terms.
He saw the leaf alone where no light was.

Infinite variation plays against
A steadfast variety. The butterfly
Knows the difference in its wings, even
As the flower she alights upon darkens
Beneath her weight. The sun goes deeper
Into the hill. Root systems and riot shine.

Did you think for a moment Earth
Was aware of itself? Never. Its adoration
Persists altogether elsewhere from
The very beginning, beginning again
Just at that moment one leaf all alone
Spins into the baroque, a scherzo of one note.

The hillside is covered with little doors,
And the wind rises out of them, returning,
When the music is spent, with all the news
Of the unaware, unreflecting, nearly perfect
Hours blindly about the business of perfection.
Hence the tiny eyes on a butterfly’s wing.

Rebirth is an idiot. Isolated
Each into its own eternity,
Like every pain, birth continues out of mind
Deeper into the hill. Earth riots
With levity. Darkness swims into light.
Flowers begin to imagine the life of flowers.

Heaven signals to me, pouring down shade
Out of the canopy of trees, prying
The sunlight apart from itself. Darkness
And light are the same thing. Music moves
Effortlessly between the two, made of nothing
But wings, wings with eyes, no end in sight.

More Poems by Donald Revell