Poem of the Week, by Robert Francis

My poems podcast, Words by Wintercan be found here.

I’m a self-taught maker of extremely imprecise, freeform story quilts that I hand-quilt and then embroider. This morning as I flicked around the internet looking for cool hand-quilt block patterns, the word “quilt” suddenly looked entirely wrong. Too short, too abrupt, missing one or more letters, and what about that t at the end…just so weird.

When I was a kid I purposely turned words into not-words by saying them over and over and over and over until poof, they transmogrified into shapes and sounds, othernesses without meaning. Now here was the word quilt, a happy familiar word my entire life, doing the same thing to me, saying You think you know me? You don’t.

Which makes me wonder about everything else I think I know, but don’t.

Nothing Is Far, by Robert Francis

Though I have never caught the word
of God from any calling bird,
I hear all that the ancients heard.

Though I have seen no deity
enter or leave a twilit tree,
I see all that the seers see.

A common stone can still reveal
something not stone, not seen, yet real.
What may a common stone conceal?

Nothing is far that once was near.
Nothing is hid that once was clear.
Nothing was God that is not here.

Here is the bird, the tree, the stone.
Here in the sun I sit alone
between the known and the unknown.

For more information about the grievously under-sung poet Robert Francis, please click here.