Friday, June 22, 2007

437. The Clouds III (Scherzo) - William Carlos Williams

I came upon a priest once at St. Andrew's
in Amalfi in crimson and gold brocade riding
the clouds of his belief.

It happened that we tourists had intervened
at some mid-moment of the ritual ––
tipped the sacristan or whatever it was.

No one else was there –– porphyry and alabaster,
the light flooding in scented
with sandalwood –– but this holy man

jiggling upon his buttocks to the litany
chanted, in response, by two kneeling altar boys!
I was amazed and stared in such manner

that he, caught half off the earth
in his ecstasy –– though without losing beat ––
turned and grinned at me from his cloud.

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