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The Ninth Rhyme of Jean Ami


I once abused a common man,

A creature that I know,

And beat him till the blood I shed
Caused Heaven’s tears to flow

He did not seek God’s grace at all;
Indeed, he cursed God’s name

So, every day I broke his bones
And battered him the same

For he was guilty of the deeds
That every man has done

And yet denied that what he lost
Was what the world had won

And baser still, he falsely lived,
And vainly he would lie

About the nature of his heart,
And look me in the eye!

These days did end for both of us
Beneath an olive tree  

When I discovered that this man

Was not a man,

But me!

I saw him burning in a flame,
A flame that made it seem
As if he were a poppet doll

That mocked me
In a dream!
No better day was ever done
In love by light unfurled

Then was upon a beach at dawn
First seen in my new world

So reckless in its native grace -
As brash as it was bold!
Like life’s great epic

In a flood

Of indigo and gold

There stood I on a rising dune
And cried to God on high
To let this blessing
Be the one

I keep until I die

Then, free to move
Upon the strand within

Creation’s ring,

I flew into the rising tide and sensed

A holy thing:

What beauties burst in careless joy!
What good things beg to be?
But in the open hearts of men
Who worship at the sea!
The berry bush is full of grace,
And, in its *****, hides a bird;

I know this, for I once by chance,
Saw birdly  things as they occurred:

A tiny beak peaked from the leaves;
Then disappeared into the shade

To tremble in a queer delight
And giggle in the mirth it made.
Ode to a Hummingbird

(Or, Loving Eyes Are Loving Him)

When he is in a garden’s eye,
The Earth is truly his
He never seems
To will or was,
In being
What he


From bloom

To bloom,

He is a blur, a blear of tiny wings –
But when he sips the dew of day,  
He seems the gist of things

A vital soul, a toy of God,
A slight and sudden breeze

That zigzags through the hollyhocks,
Then, rushes for the trees

He hums his life and flutters fast –
He is a mind aware that loving eyes

Are loving him,

When he is here

And there.
When rain comes down at midnight,
And a wind is on the lake,

The only reason
For the scene

Is that I am


For I am one soon taken
By a rubric  in the night,

And ever would
My earthly eyes

Behold a magic sight

I do not fear a lightning flash
That fades into the black;

I am a soul made for the storm
And would not turn my back.
A rubric is a direction in a liturgical book as to how a church service should be conducted.
But I believe that God is the epitome of goodness,
While people are flawed in ways that ruin everything.

My low estimation of others
Makes me cynical about
God’s judgment

And suspicious of His intentions.

In that way, I mock the first commandment
Because misanthropy condemns Creation itself -

God becomes the devil
Because what but a demiurge
Would fashion an unlovable creature

Like Man?
Like you?
Like me?
Once, in a highland solitude,
I saw the brush of loving fingers
On a wing of satin black, imbued
With beads of gold, and streams
Of sunlight, falling in a ring

And I was moved to marvel
At the care the artist took
To realize the thought

Of setting truth before me
And so near, and bettering
The beauty that it wrought

Oh, Selfless Spirit,

You have made an Earth
For every mind that peeks out

From its place

Into the prismed world of
Your best thoughts

And glimpses there
The spectrum
Of your face!

Oh, Gracious Lady,
You have given life

Unto the millions in your palette's ring -
And I am one of billions you have blessed
In having seen your fingers on a wing.
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