To Francis Jammes

In a manner, we all pray.

So I’ve walked out at 6 a.m.
into the sound and look of things.
Arc lamps hum in the city park,
and accepting resistance,
swallows lift in a sudden breeze.

What presses against me now?

Francis Jammes, you prayed to be simple,
prayed to enter heaven with the donkeys,
to have a simple wife.

On mornings like these,
insects sluggish in the cooling weather,
as fog pools in the narrow spaces
between houses–all common
for September–
I could say I have nothing.

You would say life resumed this morning.

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Steven Cramer was born in Orange, New Jersey, and educated at Antioch College and the University of Iowa. His collections of poetry include The Eye that Desires to Look Upward (1987); The World Book (1992); Dialogue for the Left and Right Hand (1997); Goodbye to the Orchard (2004), which won the 2005 Sheila Motton Prize and was named an Honor Book in Poetry by the Massachusetts Center for the Book; and Clangings (2012), a book-length sequence the deals with psycho-linguistics.