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Psalm

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With coals of juniper, Lord, with ripped willow clumps,
with lodge-pole pine and fir, with wind-wrack and slash,
I kindle an all-night fire to mirror You.
No longer waning, no longer falsifying chimes.
No longer smoking out rot, or eclipsing Yeshiva scholars.
No Lord I know what is within magnified.
Stars will just have to wait to eddy through gates of night.
Little swirl, mimicking nebulae, mimicking galaxies, which turns
for no apparent reason other than to cast and recast the whole
as it whirs and whirls, knocks and ticks at three am
in a snit to proclaim itself not as You but it in You.
If I can strut a note, can rack wobbly pins,
balance rocks into signposts, waves into a grass mass or two,
it will hear itself structuring time. This oddly chopped
watched dimension quarters us into early middle late.
Each day scans and wanes, some hope knowing its moaning
is mourning what it erases. The and stamped by the sea
each second. Be with it and what it erases ceases to toll.


Source: Poetry (April 2010)
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Psalm

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  • Emily Warn was born in San Francisco and grew up in California and Detroit. She earned degrees from Kalamazoo College and the University of Washington. Her full-length collections of poetry include The Leaf Path (1982), The Novice Insomniac (1996), and Shadow Architect (2008). She has published two chapbooks: The Book of Esther (1986) and Highway Suite (1987) and is the founding editor of poetryfoundation.org, Warn’s poems and criticism have been published widely in journals and magazines, including Bookforum, Blackbird, Jacket2, Parabola, the Seattle Times, and Poetry. She is a former Wallace Stegner fellow and has held writer-in-residence positions at institutions such as the Bush School in Seattle, Sun Valley Center for the Arts, Centrum Foundation, and Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico.
     
    A former group programming manager for Microsoft, Warn has also been a web consultant for Amazon, the Methow Conservancy, and Farming and the Environment. She has taught...

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