Distillation: A Poem

Distillation: A Poem

I wrote this a few months back, but it came to mind today because I spent hours this week wrestling with a song. Knowing that I’m recording it in a matter of days ramps up the pressure to get it right–or, as right as I can get it. It’s a relief sometimes to remember that, as hard as I try to say what I mean to the listener, in the end, the song (or poem) is going to do whatever it wants.

DISTILLATION

It’s hard to choose,
Among all that is
And all that is not,
One small thing
To make much of:
One cell,
One star,
One wind,
One wound,
One old broken truck,
One undeniable infatuation
With one untouchable soul;
To pen a span of words
With myriad meanings,
Arranged just so, in order
That they might mean
That one single thing
Which can mean
A million things–
Depending on
The reader,
And the hour
He or she reads it,
And the angle of light,
And the heart’s condition,
And the temperature of the air,
And the presence

(Or absence)

Of demons
Or angels,
Personal
Or impersonal,
And the song that played
In the bakery and mingled
Perfectly with the aroma and
Aerated the anger, just enough
That the poem might seed the soul
With a fleeting, sacred silence–
Just enough to plant the secret
God is telling–the one thing
We’re all dying to discover–
Even if we have to find it
In a poem.