Thursday, February 13, 2003

Joy School
for Joseph Cornell

Why is it that when people speak
of joy or paint
its substance the canvas is a vast
blue sky or an acre of snow broken
maybe by a few black boughs.

My joy teaches me small.
It is tiny and dark with delicate moving parts
in the shadows,

like the ripple of a salmon gill
under the river
or a small vintage machine
with obscure purpose and many
tinny whirrings.

My joy is not made in the huge
bright handclap of God.

It is made by tiny mice paws
in the mud. It is made of straw
and teeth,
with a few white feathers.