Digressional in the Confessional

by Jane Mary Curran

Penance says,
Write a song.
Music first? Or the almighty Word?
It all begins with Word—just one—

Light       or       Madness

Nobody speaks about Madness.
Or prays to it.
When Madness conforms to the usual,
it goes away shrieking
a high distant scream of bipolarity.
The song is all about what conforms to what.
Music wraps the Word, my friends,
one world wrapping another in rings.
Madness and Music make the best of friends,
laughing together over a pint.
Here I stand, says the Word.
Here I bend, says the Muse.

The cat died. A recognition event.
Bombs kill the children,
dead beneath their mothers' bodies.
My family is dead along with the cat.
All are dead and lie in dust,
stardust to stardust.
Blow away, Madness.
Clean the surface of this blue and white Earth,
wrapped in cloud,
wrapped in shadow.

Music wraps Word with tears.
Sing. Sing. Killers and thieves.
But little children sing,
holding back the night.
The color of night is violet.
The thread of night is silver.
On and on poetic Madness,
our old friend, Madness,
who turns violet to black.

This how you'll die.
In your bones you carry death.

The choirs sing.
Little children piping "Jesus Loves Me"
with Faith the ever
inconstant Lover,
never around when the chips are down.
From the steeple five birds perch on the Cross.
Prayer flows from their tiny throats.
Chant the Music, but what is the Word?
Sing. Sing and the world sings with you.
A great chorus of sound,
rumbling from throats until
Earth tilts from the noise of it all.

Today I believe in the twilight sky.
Tonight I'll believe on the evening star.
Tomorrow I'll believe in the rising sun
and the fire that rims the mountain tops
and the salt in the sea,
the rain-filled wind.
I believe in the Dog and life for the Cat.
Nothing ends. Moving on.

Music wraps around Word,
drapes desire to the shape of Word.
Sing. Sing.
But sing from your page.
Sing to your Self.
Earth spins around with almighty sound.

Nothing ends. Moving on.

Jane Mary Curran is a poet and spiritual director living in Asheville, North Carolina. She lived her first life as a pianist and college professor and her second as a chaplain at a hospice. Now in the third third of her life, she returns to poetry for the essential stuff of living—fewer words and greater soul.

About Digressional in the Confessional—In my class this spring, I heard and explored a new voice in my poetry.