W. F. Lantry
Ubi CaritasShe lives within her song, but does not live
outside measures: she sings but does not sing.
She is a lyre played by unseen hands
and if she calms herself, it's to reveal
the energy her spirit understands,
the force only external light can bring.
Her voice's beauty helps us recollect
a deeper beauty, helps us reconnect
with everything we've lost, and yet preserves
our fragile vibrancy: we are too frail
to know resplendence openly, the real
beauty behind the songs: she is a veil,
a shadow on that brilliance, which conserves
our sight for other visions. And if we
can truly hear her music, charity
may be strengthened within us, we may learn
the gentleness of grace and know the sweet
constraints only her measures can unseal,
if only we can share in her complete
surrender to the spirit, if we burn
in that same flame: peaceful, contemplative.
Ave MariaThe colors of her strong voice interweave,
in mirrors, light and flame, and reconnect
this earth with an eternal realm. Her words
gentle, but filled with force, fall on our ears
like rain, life-giving, or like songs of birds
whose light enraptured harmonies reflect
the peace of every orchard we have known.
And through her voice, chaos is overthrown,
the colors of this earth are harmonized
into a brilliant prism, mirroring
the concord where confusion disappears,
where we, in tranquil unity, can sing
Her blissful praise, in voices crystallized
a moment through the joy Her presence gives.
Her voice, nourished by lucent waters, lives
within us, gathers us, restores our breath,
so we may sing sweet canticles to praise
colors of earth, or music of the spheres,
whose measures teach the numbering of days,
comfort even the hour of our death,
remind us, in our darkness, not to grieve.
Robe of BeautyWe wrap ourselves within her robe of song,
woven of harmony and gathered light,
as if she drew into herself the flame
swirling through all of us and could sustain
in song its energy, and overcame
stillness and quietude through her delight
in beauty. She is the Spirit’s harp, who weaves
through her, comfort to everyone who grieves,
but even more: her joyful singing veils
brightness surrounding us, which otherwise
would dazzle us to blindness, and constrain
our sight to shadows. As our voices rise
with hers, a deeper form of sight prevails,
lit by a living flame: she is the lyre
who unifies, through hymns, water and fire
to soothe our souls and light our path. The grace
within her song allows us to explore
the golden threads connecting this domain
to greater permanence, as if a door,
opened by song, allowed us to retrace
our path, and find the place where we belong.
Another Kind of BeautyThe boundaries of experience dissolve
in contemplation of the beautiful.
In opening ourselves to song, we gain
passage to unsuspected realms, explore
the mysteries of faith we can't explain,
and meditating on the bountiful
sweet harmonies surrounding us, we hear
echoes of presence. Listening to clear
reinvocations of lost radiance,
we understand the miracles of grace
within our lives, and focusing, restore
our peaceful compositions. There's a trace
of paradise in every voice, brilliance
we almost cannot bear, but if we pause
a moment to receive it, music draws
our spirits to eternal love, we learn
to rediscover everything we've known,
and re-envision the resplendent core
glowing within us all, a warmed gemstone,
and through our works of music, we return
gifts we've received, and help this realm revolve.
ViriditasExpect no voices. Do not look for words
written in blazing letters on the sky
or chiseled into granite on your wall.
Do not assume visions will pierce your sight
or any of your senses. There’s no thrall
compelling you, or making things comply
with what you’ve known. Open yourself, and know
without knowing the source. Allow the flow
to fill you silently, until your heart
can understand, remember, and renew
in your own words, shadows of living light,
bringing to others the same peace that grew
within your spirit. If those words impart
the same tranquility, then you may learn
to trust their source, and trust in their return.
Notice, especially, the way their green
ardor infuses everything. Around
the new space you inhabit, watch the bright
roses thriving in once resistant ground
and opening themselves, until the scene
is rich with rose perfume and flashing birds.
Copyright © 2016 W. F. Lantry
W. F. Lantry's poetry collections are The Terraced Mountain (Little Red Tree 2015), The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree 2012), winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry, and a chapbook, The Language of Birds (2011). He received his PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. Honors include the National Hackney Literary Award in Poetry, Patricia Goedicke Prize, Crucible Editors' Prize, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (Israel), the Paris Lake Poetry Prize and Potomac Review Prize. His work appears widely online and in print. He currently works in Washington, DC. and is editor of Peacock Journal. More at wflantry.com.