A Poem by Bishop Thomas Breidenthal
A heart-shaped puddle
Forms on the surface
Of this headland trail,
Water making visible
The perfect imprint of a valentine,
As if the trodden earth were one of Milton’s angels
Borrowing matter to take shape.
Here, where sea fig and yellow violet lean,
And unleashed dogs rush the cliff edges,
Flat and muddy it lies across our path,
Its form, if we choose to read it so, a sign
Of love imprinted everywhere,
Common as dirt.
If we choose to read it so:
Such choice undoes the sign as sign,
Since we assign the meaning and so signify,
Taking this dark surface as carte blanche
To see the world we choose.
Or do I face two meanings I don’t choose
But must decide between:
Love or indifference at the heart of everything?
Better, perhaps, to leave both choice and sign aside
And let this puddle be just that:
A slight declivity where water’s pooled.
No sooner said than the declivity’s my heart,
Shallow and hard, filled up for all to see,
God’s grace, like longed-for rain,
At once exposing and re-clothing me.