The Reliquary Urn; For Joseph Wright of Derby

by nick sirianno

The Reliquary Urn; For Joseph Wright of Derby

Oh the Riviera grey
funerals, blackbirds, and the day
by stiff and stiffening stems that ledge
the farms and fields of gnarled beds.
With secrets quiet still and buried
hiding ghosts or locked and worried

by engines, cities, the Paris lights
when candles did more than just illuminate the night;
but the table, in the windmill, by the mantel and vase
and the children who crept in the garden at dark,
in a wintery spring when the wet lambs mourn,
and the altar where Cain and Abel were born.

The light of the sky came in twenty lashing;
to the red in the mere and the gold in the lark wings,
to the babe in the wash of the round copper basin,
and the ring that hung off the neck of the maiden,
to the ribbon starlings that weave in the dusk,
and the stable lamp when the door blinks shut.

Off the rivers windows and glossy oaks,
and the morning willow whose bird it woke,
to the candling fog, burning and swift,
and the sharpening grass of morning’s lift,
to the drunkard monarchs shouldering through
the dampened shade of the afternoon,

where the oxen bends his ebony knees
by quiet cricket and quiet breeze
to the mimsy rolling and palleted wheat
where The Painter blends the evening heat
and pulls the myriad strings of day
through the purple cloak and clay

that crawl amongst the forlorn shade
and creep away as darkness fades
into the burning leaves of morrow
and the darkened homes of ash and sorrow
awoke within the field towns
and heard a voice that rang aloud

Alas the Lord his cherries down
the light, it heeds us through the ground.