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Good Fortune Loves God

ISSUE:  Summer 1999

It’s too beautiful today.
Even the ramshackle
Fine Arts Work Center is beautiful
with its freshly painted trim,
everything finally in bloom,
after a long, bleak spring—the golden chain tree,
the purple wisteria, the shaggy rugosa roses
gleaming and fragrant on the balmy air—

you contentedly
regaling your favorite bear
in the back seat
as we go on to the A&P
with our list of ingredients—
asparagus, red pepper, red onion,

black olives, an orange
for the zest of its peel,
parmesan and proscuitto—
for a pasta primavera
that we’ll eat out on the deck tonight,
Heidi and you and I, we three,
with a cold bottle of Pino Grigio,

and now, on a happy whim,
turning down a long short-cut,
we ride between the orderly lines
of dark cedar trees,
their gnarled roots giving way
on both sides to mown fields
thickly carpeted with the low, yellow
star-like flowers of poverty grass
that only open in the sunlight
and last but a day,

and then we see, gradually rising
beyond the avenue’s sharp-angled turn
the harmoniously irregular rows
of crooked white stones and the marble
crypts and sarcophagi
shining beneath the cloudless sky
like a brilliant city on a distant hill.

I can hardly bear it, it’s all too much;
every vista, every shadowless shape and hue
accompanies, complements, perfects.
It’s Sunday. I’m not going to do
a thing today. I’m not going near my desk.
I’m not going to write a word today
but these: How can there be no sense,
no providence, no immortality?


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