The Ghazal of What Hurt

Peter Cole
Pain froze you, for years—and fear—leaving scars. 
But now, as though miraculously, it seems, here you are 

walking easily across the ground, and into town 
as though you were floating on air, which in part you are, 

or riding a wave of what feels like the world's good will—
though helped along by something foreign and older than you are 

and yet much younger too, inside you, and so palpable 
an X-ray, you're sure, would show it, within the body you are,
 
not all that far beneath the skin, and even in 
some bones. Making you wonder: Are you what you are—

with all that isn't actually you having flowed 
through and settled in you, and made you what you are? 

The pain was never replaced, nor was it quite erased. 
It's memory now—so you know just how lucky you are. 

You didn't always. Were you then? And where's the fear?
Inside your words, like an engine? The car you are?! 

Face it, friend, you most exist when you're driven 
away, or on—by forms and forces greater than you are. 

More by Peter Cole

Improvisation on Lines by Isaac the Blind

Only by sucking, not by knowing, 
can the subtle essence be conveyed—
sap of the word and the world's flowing 

that raises the scent of the almond blossoming, 
and yellows the bulbul in the olive's jade. 
Only by sucking, not by knowing. 

The grass and oxalis by the pines growing 
are luminous in us—petal and blade—
as sap of the word and the world's flowing; 

a flicker rising from embers glowing;
light trapped in the tree's sweet braid 
of what it was sucking. Not by knowing 

is the amber honey of persimmon drawn in. 
An anemone piercing the clover persuades me—
sap of the word and the world is flowing 

across separation, through wisdom's bestowing, 
and in that persuasion choices are made: 
But only by sucking, not by knowing 
that sap of the word through the world is flowing.