Three Poems of Profession

POETRY by Noor Shawaf

As Such To Know

A monk wants to know
where lie fate’s seams
what the novel knows,
bildungs into ease,
plotted graces
out of words, periodic
thinking as life allows
without a manly stink.
this one’s atoned and died:
others follow fast,
learning how hearts are tied
that may sunder with a test
and how to expect.
Monk marvels at fastness
of sight without circumspect
of the word to the sight,
and drinks from water cup
and eats morning’s bread
hums a hymn to shore up
counts the pages to be read.



Want of a Draught

I asked the local chemist
to fit me with a draught
that might dull the pain
of missing a rib
and fortify my heart’s ventricles
that are crumbling
without the ocean’s breath and
its gentle wishes

so I paid him and
he did pull for me a draught
of horn ends and heron feather
of linden stem and
powder of marble (I’d not
pockets deep enough for
powder of porphyry)
and several aleppo
peppers with their seeds
to revivify me and
musk grapes to forget

he administered it to me
in a bronze beaker
and I did drink it all a once
and my cheeks did flush
and burn right there
in his molding shop
not from the peppers
or the marble’s chalk but at
the thought of you

A Novice Mariner

I am building a craft of rushes
that I might be shouldered
by the waves, its hollow-stemmed hull
staid enough to win me home
will sing a tar’s air
as it crosses ocean bridge to principle,

How I laughed at Acoetes
his song of a godly crowned-head
whose burgeoning vines did
wake the seas, whose uncut
wine is liquid enough to believe,

As rains recall the sense,
as blusters travail to mimic
the ocean squall, still I want
for the fathom. Salt-bright water
to enfold my meagerness.

Noor Shawaf (MAPH’15) is involved in the visual arts.

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