A Prayer for Transfiguration
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A green skinned paper diamond,
Boned with balsa sticks,
Tendons of string.
Leaning lightly against the sky,
Balancing like a bird
Against a steady wash of summer air,
Hour by hour expressing its nature
In perfect, motionless flight.
Day by day whispering thoughts of birds
To the boy sprawled in the grass below,
And, somewhere in eternity,
Connecting the boy with his dreams.
The string rode steady in my hand
All that long last mystical summer.
All through the short months of the apex of my boyhood,
My eyes and soul held the image
Of this near-entity as it flew, spirit-like above,
Motionless avatar of fading childhood.
Almost I believed against knowledge
That its flight was immortal,
That the miracle if its rising
Suspended time and dissolved endings.
Yet, each day as the sun dipped
And gathered the wind to himself,
And set fire to the evening sky,
And fell into silence and night,
My paper prophet taught me wisdom.
In the growing twilight stillness it dropped perfectly,
By slow inches, composed, uncomplaining,
Beautifully, inevitably to the Earth,
Where for a timeless moment it stood,
A spirit transfixed on a balsa cross,
Finally dropping into the dry weeds as the sky
Burned in an ecstasy of joy or grief,
And the Mockingbirds sang a fierce Requiem.