A Blind Beggar-Musician of Anatolia

Mr. Babi’s indrawn eyelids do not move.
The watery craters scar his baby face.
They are sewn-up holes of Bible light.
Glory burns inside, yet the Devil’s close.
The Devil’s friends who make him trip and fall
Will grovel in the burning grease of Hell.

Dogs and cats are daughters, sons of Christ.
All love him. He loves every simple being.
He would fondle lambs, bears, tigers, lions,
Any furry, felted hide or flying thing.
Mr. Babi’s fingers—firebirds in black space—
Love to rest on necks of donkeys eating grass.

Mr. Babi talks of death. He’s fallen sick.
Pus and tonsillitis. He cannot swallow.
He wipes his wasted face with fevered hand.
He walks a bit and stumbles into furrows;
Wanting life and warmth and loving brothers,
He founders in a ditch of carbon flowers.

Mr. Babi’s eyelids feel a blow of light
As yellow angels plummet through his sleep.
Fig trees freeze in fine silver candelabra.
The black noon flattens into fulgent seas.
The heavens open to the bright wool of summer,
And death is home, health. Death is cheap peace.

From Mexico In My Heart: New And Selected Poems (Carcanet, 2015) by Willis Barnstone. Copyright © 2015 by Willis Barnstone. Used with the permission of the author.