Volume > Issue > Envy of the Empty Air

Envy of the Empty Air

A POEM

By Susan Heyboer-O’Keefe | December 1984

Of what do they dream

— the white-robed monks?

while we

with half-shaped forms

from night’s pale palette

sleep

 

and sigh:

how sweeter than a monk’s dream

could sweet be?

 

and draw the covers tight

against the cold.

 

Dreams of our own

by day, by night,

work dark

their untold words

in our unwilling

death.

 

We sleep a sleep that does not feed

within a night that does not hide;

and in the dark

the mirrored heart reflects upon itself.

 

Yet what do they dream?

— the cloistered monks

who have

no day like ours

to populate their

night.

 

(…Dream praise and halleluiahs,

Dream six-winged seraphed love,

Dream chrisom child’s anthem

sung slow and clear and soft,

Dream saints’ all-haloed glory,

Dream Resurrection’s gift,

Dream dreams of life eternal

as long as they shall live?)

We sigh:

No sweeter than a monk’s dream

can sweet be

 

and draw the covers tight

against the cold.

 

But what if we’re wrong

and sleep-filled monks

dream of

the long dark space

between themselves and

God?

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