Two Poems

By Christian Wiman

Every Riven Thing

God goes, belonging to every riven thing He’s made
Sing his being simply by being
The thing it is:
Stone and tree and sky,
Man who sees and sings and wonders why

God goes. Belonging, to every riven thing He’s made,
Means a storm of peace.
Think of the atoms inside the stone.
Think of the man who sits alone
Trying to will himself into the stillness where

God goes belonging. To every riven thing He’s made
There is given one shade
Shaped exactly to the thing itself:
Under the tree a darker tree;
Under the man the only man to see

God goes belonging to every riven thing. He’s made
The things that bring Him near,
Made the mind that makes Him go.
A part of what man knows,
Apart from what man knows,

God goes belonging to every riven thing He’s made.


This Mind of Dying

God let me give You now this mind of dying
Fevering me back
Into consciousness of all I lack
And of that consciousness becoming proud:

There are keener griefs than God.
They come quietly, and in plain daylight,
Leaving us with nothing, and the means to feel it.

My God my grief forgive my grief tamed in language
To a fear that I can bear.
Make of my anguish
More than I can make. Lord, hear my prayer.

Christian Wiman is the editor of Poetry. His most recent book, Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet, was published last fall by Copper Canyon Press. One of the essays in that book, “Notes on Poetry and Religion,” appeared in the Winter 2007 issue of the Bulletin.

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