It didn’t come to me like a dove or a bow-kissed sky.
It came to me like a chain,
And a ball,
And a chunk of long, hard time.
At Christmas, it was laughter,
Sprung out of silence
Like birdsong in a winter field.
It was the quotidian traffic of words and syllables and letters that desperately needed an officer
To shout, and blow his whistle, and
Move them along.
I’m learning to shout like the officer.
I see his uniform, and the shiny buttons on his coat,
The orderly way the words obey his commands.
I want to be like that, but
Characters are capricious creatures, and philosophies even more fickle.
Still, I’m finding there’s a knack of it.
There’s a time for harsh words and whistles that shriek above the street,
But there’s a friendship, too.
It’s a hospitality,
Like old Mrs. Reyburne, who takes me in and fills my hands with tea and biscuits.
I’ve got to offer tea to even the least of these letters.
I’ve got to fill them up with sweets and let them overflow and spill out into meaning,
of reflected shapes and refracted light
To form the rainbow that wasn’t there before,
And brings the olive branch at last into view.
It didn’t come to me like a dove or a bow-kissed sky,
Until I asked it to come in and stay a while.