Christmas 2001

FIVE LEAST FALLIBLE PLEASURES

I. INNOCENT MERRIMENT

A whole biology of beautiful smiles,
winters calm as ravens shadowing through the pines,
Santa Claus finds his way to your beautiful heart
in the dark of the Christmas light parade. “It is a pleasure to see
so much confusion.” * We sleep the sleep of the blest
on the rim of the steepest decay.
“What does peace mean?” he whispered
remembering a hand on his wrist long ago,
so warm, so deeply kind, he minds nothing now
of the crumbling life he leads. As long as blood
is the nectar of thought, and the mind still blinks in its constellations,
there is more to a memory of love, of even the slightest
welcoming smile, he thought, than to all the inconceivable
loss of the world. How practical happiness is.

*from Marianne Moore’s poem, “The Steeplejack”

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