Alexander Levering Kern


Praise Song for the Morning

Praise be to the subway graffiti etched 
on a plastic wall with the edge of a key,
and the way that sunlight brushes its lips
down the cavernous sloping stairs.

Praise be this hieroglyph puzzle of a day: 
on a train together rumbling toward Concord
strangers smiling beneath furry hoods.

Praise be the simplicity of our breath
as it finds its freedom in little clouds 
like oxen snorting in a winter stable
before the light is born.

Praise be the pen between my teeth: 
a dagger gripped in a pirate’s jaw,
a scrap of bread in a seagull's beak.

Praise be the bakery, a field of fruit,
and memories of a steaming kitchen:
a chocolate swamp of chocolate pie,
berries mixed under the earth.

All praises be to the ordinary, 
glittering interludes of our lives,
quiet pausing just long enough
to see sunlight pour through the rain.

Praise be the gratitude when you awake
to a herd of voices beyond your mind: 
silence, syllable, a rumor of morning
that begs you, stop and see.


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