My father in this lonely room of prayer
listens at the window
in the little house of his own dreams.
He has come a long way just to listen,
over seas and sorrow, through the narrow gate
of his deliverance.
And he dwells here now,
beyond the valley and the shadow, too,
in silence mustered day by dawn.
It has come to this sweet isolation
in the eye of God, the earliest of mornings
in his chambered skull, this frost of thought.
Without syntax there is no immortality,
says my friend,
who has counted beads along a string
and understood that time is
water in a brook
or words in passage,
caravans amid the whitest dunes,
a team of horses in the mountain trace.
There is always movement, muttering,
in flight to wisdom,
which cannot be fixed. The kingdom
comes but gradually,
breaking word by wing or day by dream.
We proceed on insufficient knowledge,
trusting in what comes, in what comes down
in winding corridors,
in clamorous big rooms,
above a gorge on windy cliffs.
In places where discovered sounds make sense,
where subjects run through verbs
to matter in the end, a natural completion
in the holy object of affections
as our sentence circles round again:
This grammar holds us, makes us shine.