nthposition online magazine

My father, who art in heaven & Kill a tree, kill me


[ poetry - february 08 ]

My father, who art in heaven

My father, who art in heaven,
sits under an umbrella that is his firmament.
The umbrella drifts when the wind blows
and is not much of a shelter to anyone
but him. He has kept the family under it.
He would like to keep the world under it,
and though the world is not under it,
he thinks it is, and is happy to think it.
And he's happy. He's happy when he's God, and God
is what he is when he's under his umbrella.
But when it drifts, or when he turns
it around so it's a walking stick to lean on,
he isn't God at all, but we say
he is and thank him for protecting us -
and the rest of the world too - who kneel
under trees that bow to him in the rain
and feed him fruit and fan him with their leaves
in a show of unified appreciation.


Kill a tree, kill me

My husband, whom I loved enough to live
in any country with, warned me against
his own, the Netherlands, because he sensed
my utopian preconceptions were naïve.
I though the Dutch were unremonstrative
and green, were droll, couldn't be influenced,
rode bikes. He claimed my views were unbalanced,
and furthermore he'd be uncooperative
if I attempted bicycling. It turned
out that we moved to neutral ground: a house
near Paddington. A fig tree on the side
grew big after ten years. So I discerned
him with his saw last week, and near him was
a brand new bike he'd bought for me to ride.