The Hours

By PETER FILKINS

 

Matins

in the indicative dark
somber houses
stand preoccupied

by moonlight
implicating the elms
upon their surfaces

so many thin arms
raised in hallelujahs
inking hard shadows

 
Lauds

the stars unload
their narratives
of dust

the moon a prayer
its fullness exuding
light that shines

from arid plains
craters awash
in tranquility

 
Prime

and the ascension
of the planets
swift wheeling

constellations
crosses the sky
to empty out

the geography
of night into
the visible

 

Terce

all over town
the drift and sheer
of daylight untangles

down from a poplar
on the scatter of wind
disseminating white

angels that clutch
gray seeds
of hosannas


Sext

among the clatter
of dishes and daydreams
served up at the diner

ghostly steam
slowly unfurls
above coffee

cups lifting
black votives
of thirst

 

Nones

a buzzard picks
at the flesh
of a pigeon

as cars circle
the village green
and the gorging

still rapture
of hungry raptor
quietly feeding

 

Vespers

toward evening
toward night a
setting things

down toward
evening the wide
open spaces

traffic
exhaling its
halo of sighs

 

Compline

and the moon
again risen
traces its arc

to excavate
the quiet of
houses unloading

their amber
soft veils
printing the lawns

 

Peter Filkins’ fifth book of poems, Water / Music, will be published by Johns Hopkins early 2021. He teaches writing, literature, and translation at Bard College.

The Hours

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