By Edward Butscher

Nothing is an accident

in a poem or state 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 pulsating

chaos is not chaos at all

but the cauldron of a skull

dreaming astronomy.


An Aztec priest perched

on a leafless limb

like a sailor’s parrot

and cawed what he never saw

about the human heart’s

flight from itself:


the thunder of a hare

caught in dawn’s gory jaws:


the first woman’s sacred stillness

haloing a Catholic schoolyard

as it moved earth to erupt

with the drum rhythms

of an anchor love


when light angels appeared

to spear her tense thighs

into dancing tassels.


He was a liar then and now,

but his truth remains true


his phoenix wings

his golden bough

his burning bush


kindling pyre for the hearth

where we sacrifice the Other

for a taste of wrought beauty

that will outlive all appetites.



Poet, critic, and literary biographer, Edward Butscher resides with his wife, Paula Trachtman, in Greenport, Long Island. His poetry and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies since 1976. Collections of his poetry include Poems About SilenceAmagansett Cycle, and Child in the House. His biography Sylvia Path: Method and Madness, was the first of that poet, and Conrad Aiken: Poet of White Horse Vale won the Melville Kane Award from the Poetry Society of America.

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