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Rose Moss - Penance

A Song of Penance

Going to seed your repenting heart as if alone whirls
in a blizzard
cracked and crazing and stuck on ice
as mute as stone
and lodged in night
whose strict address
of grime and shame tells all
and all avert their eyes from yours
till you, without a name, without a home
a back, a shank
wincing from squalor and rancor
wrest free from locks of pride
and scourge your day
as bare as salt
then, beached and scoured and spent, you sleep
clean as a naked shoot drawn to warmth
who, healing, stirs and breaks old webs
and pushes apart the soil that weighs your wear;
and, as a bird at birth
beats open its lid
fiercely pecking with strong and wanton beat and thrust
you know that you live
and bathe in water awake with tongues of light
and breezes that melt the steel of dark
you thank the day
and begin, while there is light
with steady practice
to learn and study still
how bone freezes and ice cuts
and prove between dawn and dusk
how fire fusing with blood
wells to the sensitive skin
so seeing with eyes wiped free
your mortal like
as if transparent and clear
yet still opaque
you open your hand
shield a bowed head
raise straight a spine
secure a name
with direct eyes raise a face
exposed to yours
so heart springs, turning
aware and beating, alien, known
to your other and kind
as when light meets light
and you run like a child with tender soles
who remembers no hurt
on dunes and grass
nervous, laughing and ceremonious
choosing and steady as a homing bird
who climbs from sight
to soar like herons that take the sky in wide
deliberate wings and strong will
high, still, to rest
and peace and play.