Thursday, January 4, 2018

Spoken For by Li-Young Lee


Spoken For
 
I didn’t know I was blue,
until I heard her sing. 
 
I was never aware so much
had been lost
even before I was born.
There was so much to lose
even before I knew
what it meant to choose. 
 
Born blue,
living blue unconfessed, blue
in concealment, I’ve lived all my life
at the plinth
of greater things than me. 
 
Morning is greater
with its firstborn light and birdsong.
Noon is taller, though a moment’s realm.
Evening is ancient and immense, and
night’s storied house more huge. 
 
But I had no idea.
And would have died without a clue,
except she began to sing. And I understood 
 
my soul is a bride enthralled by an unmet groom,
or else the groom wholly spoken for, blue
in ardor, happy in eternal waiting. 
 
I heard her sing and knew
I would never hear the true 
 
name of each thing
until I realized the abysmal
ground of all things. Her singing
touched that ground in me. 
 
Now, dying of my life, everything is made new.
Now, my life is not my life. I have no life
apart from all of life. 
 
And my death is not my death,
but a pillow beneath my head, a rock
propping the window open
to admit the jasmine. 
 
I heard her sing,
and I’m no longer afraid.
Now that I know what she knows, I hope
never to forget
how giant the gone
and immaculate the going.
How much I’ve already lost.
How much I go on losing.
How much I’ve lived
all one blue. O, how much
I go on living. 

 

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