There is a force that breaks the body
There is a force that breaks the body, inevitable,
the by-product is pain, unexceptional as a rain
gauge, which has become arcane, rhyme, likewise,
unless it’s assonant or internal injury, gloom, joy,
which is also a dish soap, but not the one that rids
seabirds of oil from wrecked tankers, that’s Dawn,
which should change its name to Dusk, irony being
the flip side of sentimentality here in the Iron Age,
ironing out the kinks in despair, turning it to hairdo
from hair, to do, vexing infinitive, much better to be
pain’s host, body of Christ as opposed to the Holy
Ghost, when I have been suffering at times I could
step away from it by embracing it, a blues thing,
a John Donne thing, divest by wrestling, then sing.
Copyright © 2017 by Diane Seuss. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 31, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“This poem is from an in-progress collection of sonnets that are in some measure both traditional and improvisational. I join poets before me in thinking through the reality of pain—physical, spiritual—a subject at odds, it would seem, with the poem’s playfulness. I’ve long been obsessed with sonnets by Donne and Hopkins, who wrestle so valiantly with suffering, and—for a while, anyway—live to sing about it.”
Diane Seuss is the author of four books of poetry: Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl (Graywolf Press, 2018); Four-Legged Girl (Graywolf Press, 2015); Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open (University of Massachusetts Press, 2010), recipient of the Juniper Prize for Poetry; and It Blows You Hollow (New Issues Press, 1998).
Date Published: 2017-08-31
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/there-force-breaks-body