Ancient Light

It may be possible for a poem to be a record of something mysterious, which can happen to us in the middle of our own quandaries & stupidities, & help us along.  "There but for the grace of God..."  Little signs of something, the "music of what happens" in some better realm.  That's what I try to get across in the following, the next-to-last poem of the second chapter of Stubborn Grew.  More darkness & confusion lie ahead, but I still feel the light lovely touch here.  A sense of closure.  Wish I had a photo of that little painted sign, up in the corner of a courtyard of the Greek Orthodox church in London.  "Ancient Light."  I still wonder what it means.

       Sweet children grow into adultery, and all 
       the aging imperfections.  Embroiled, inveigled. 
       The city blatts with brass-emblasoned 
       thievery.  But if there's providence in the call
       of Bluejay, miming the blue arch of sky – if 
       grinding sinbad violence (so Vico sighed) 
       is geared to pinwheels Ezekiel spied – then 
       I'll add my evidence, proof come what may.
       My Book of Q was sealed. . . retraced my steps 
       to Chelsea.  Christmas shopping. Entered
       a second-hand bookstore on King's Road, 
       about to close for good. In the basement sleeps
       an old dog and a pile of 19th-century prints 
       – little black-white view s– pale touch-up 
       colors barely there.  Five, six. . . stop! 
       Enough for those kids!  One more. . . since
       it's a scene of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul. 
       No.  I leave – I come back later – finally 
       surrender.  Add it to the tally.
       The wallet's empty, the bags are full.
       On the last empty day in London town
       I took a different route from the hotel.
       Up Moscow Road, past the two Greek delis, 
       until it crosses St. Petersburg Mews.  One
       glance to the left: Church of St. Sophia.
       A warm limestone fence sprayed with spiky 
       Byzantine palm-leaf design, bordering dusky 
       gold-brown hue of the bricks.  My Russophilia
       here, here finds its reward. In the morning light
       I stumble into the paved courtyard, burgeoning
       with green spear-fronds (in December).  Turning, 
       I see a faded painted sign, high on the wall.  Ancient Light.

Church of St. Sophia, near St. Petersburgh Mews, London

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