Heart

By Edward Butscher

Nothing is an accident

in a poem or piece of mind.

Nothing lacks design

the craft of artisan hands.

 

This is the charm and chill

of a cosmos groaning on

an axis of stars without end.

 

After all, a sun’s pulsed chaos

is not chaos at all,

merely the cauldron of a skull

dreaming astronomy.

 

An Aztec priest once perched

on a leafless limb

like a rainbow parrot

and cawed what he never saw

in the human heart’s

flight from itself:

 

the first woman’s sacred stillness

haloing the Catholic schoolyard

as it moves under earth eruptions

with the base drum rhythm

of an anchor love

 

when a light angel appears

to spear her muddy thighs

into dancing tassels.

 

He was a liar then and now

but his truth remains true

 

his burning bush

his golden bough

his phoenix wings

kindling pyre of the hearth

where we sacrifice the Other

for a taste of wrought beauty

that will outlive all appetites.

 ___

Born and raised in Flushing, Queens, Edward Butscher’s poems, stories, reviews, and essays have appeared in a wide variety of journals since the early 1970’s, including the Saturday Review of Literature, Poetry, Georgia Review, Newsday, and the American Book Review. In 1976 Seabury Press published his Poems About Silence and Sylvia Plath: Method and Madness, first biography of the controversial poet. He also edited Sylvia Plath: The Woman and the Work (1978) for Dodd, Mead, and his Adelaide Crapsey was published in 1979 as a title in Twayne’s United States Authors series.

Cross Cultural Communications published two collections of his poems, Amagansett Cycle (1980) and Unfinished Sequence (1981), and his only novel, Faces on the Barroom Floor, appeared from Contemporary Press in 1984. He co-edited (with Irving Malin) a special issue of Twentieth Century Literature in 1986 devoted to the work of Paul Bowles. His Conrad Aiken: Poet of White Horse Vale, published in 1988 by the University of Georgia Press, won the Poetry Society of America’s Melville Cane Award for that year

Edward Butscher is the author of Peter Wild (1992) in the Western Writers of America series and Eros Descending (1992), a group of lyrics from an on-going sequence issued as a Dusty Dog Chapbook, and has been a contributing scholar for a number of reference works, among them, The Reference Guide to Short Fiction (St. James Press), MaGill’s Survey of Contemporary Poetry, and Oxford University’s Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English.

 


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