Long ago you and I struggled to be born
among the standing stones,
underground fire, mineral rain,
furrows of imagination yellowed by the sun.
Our immobile blood burned blue
even as the wind shaped
our serene incarnation. We deciphered
the doors of the earth, found the one to open
on who we would become.
Our still-closed eyes strived to name oneness,
to behold the mystery of our bodies
falling in a rage of flame, in the rhythms
and textures of our appetites. We tuned ourselves
to sow and reap, shepherd and slaughter,
to be true to many selves
and the singularity
from which we came.
Forging weapons that turn night to day
we meditated on the clouds
littered with the psalms of migrating birds.
We mourned the wild horses,
the range stripped of native forage.
The prayer wheel spun us at our core
as we labored to learn that how
we live is what we leave behind.
Returning to the solace of not seeking,
we need no face or syllable or seed,
as we come to know in our hearts
what we cannot know any other way.
Seven petals, seven seas,
seven words like moths
wet with night—
we share everything.
Obscured by the living rain,
leaves gather what we make
of the yellow bells at dawn—
the horizon rings us
Seven clouds oblivious
to seven cathedrals of the sun—
we strike an accord,
you and me, with the scent
of orchid, shattered beauty
discovered in nearby nebulae.
We ravel together, every day ringing
in seven songs
William O’Daly’s most recent book of poems, The New Gods, which includes these poems, will be published by Beltway Editions on September 15, 2022. O’Daly has translated eight books of Pablo Neruda’s late and posthumous poetry and Book of Twilight, the Chilean Nobel Laureate’s first book.