Poetry: Haley Hodges | Cassandra Voices

Poetry: Haley Hodges


The Sacred Mundane


We might say with confidence that the world
is a lovely catastrophe—paradise
buried in a rubbish heap; devilish, angelic,
perishing, precious, priestly, proud;
one home to the light that is oil and the water that
is darkness,

this poor dazzling Earth a jar cracking
with the strain of their dueling dual containment,
each repelling ceaselessly the other, each true and
each toiling, warring for truest.

Us? We sip from the strange chalice
of these shocking simultaneities. The draught
makes us dance, and weep, and worship
and slay, and curse, and kiss, and pray.


This rainfall spends and spends itself
on the ground that can only receive it,
and my thoughts spent with it are hardly
a poet’s thoughts – I wonder is there anything
else like rain, and decide at last that nothing is,
but the conclusion makes me think
in this regard rain is like God, and have made
myself a paradox.

And then I think of your second name,
a challenge, fierce in its declaration
‘Who is like God,’ and fiercer still
in the silence that is the only true answer,
and the rain falls steady with my unsteady
thoughts; they are paired today in a dance
strange and tuneless, and breaking
over me like a jar of perfumed oil
is the thought ‘I get to be here,’
and the cosmic unfathomable voice
of the rain says this also, and with
the same measure of delight.


I passed the Dairy Corner on route 7–
it was evening and a storm had
begun in earnest and without apology,
yet the Dairy Corner stood neon and unblinking,
oblivious, resolute beneath relentless hammer blows
of rain. I can’t say just why,
but it warmed my soul to see the people
(and these were not oblivious)
huddled in a merry mass under the insufficient
awning, drenched with their sundaes and cones,
who–perhaps without even intending to–
counted it all joy.


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