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The Firstborn

_          I thought that I would read the beginning
_                      Of the last gospel, but
_                      The book fell open at
The beginning of the first, my thoughts misdeeming
_                      What I needed to write this poem,
_          But the book satisfying them.

_          My intention was to write about
_                      A father and a son
_                      Hand in hand upon
A curving shore, a memory I doubt,
_                      But fitting image for
_          All such memories I here recall.

_          Those early summer evenings spent
_                      With my dad on that outcrop
_                      Watching peregrines drop,
Or in the woods, off way-marked paths, intent
_                      To find the fabled stand
_          Of Weymouth Pines, which we, at last, found.

_          Our lingering at Mickla Bridge,
_                      Discoursing about Yeats,
_                      As the sun politely waits
To set behind the bluing fields’ high ridge.
_                      My making for my first son
_          My arm a pillow to rest upon.

_          But while I thought on these things, behold,
_                      An angel of the Lord
_                      Appealed to my words and implored,
All things are created through the Son, that child,
_                      Conceived of the holy ghost,
_          Praised suddenly by a heavenly host.

_          What have I written? And what have I
_                      Imagined and not written?
_                      And what remains unwritten
And unimagined in this poem? Before I
_                      Knew it, my thoughts were lost,
_          Or found with child of the holy ghost.

Edward Clarke’s Eighteen Psalms was published by Periplum Poetry in 2018. He is also the author of two books of criticism, The Vagabond Spirit of Poetry (Iff Books 2014) and The Later Affluence of W.B. Yeats and Wallace Stevens (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), and poetry editor Cassandra Voices. 

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