Reading Elizabeth Bishop’s Poem : Sestina

December rain falls in her forest-rich, forest-deep
garden, a different kind of house where time
has slipped away. New year does not seem to arrive.
Or is it a new moon every dusk?
Half-resolute, I step into her poetic house,
hoping to meet the legendary grandmother
and her child with their inexplicable almanac.
Perhaps astute enough to try to see the future
via their breathing treasure,
although the future, peace, happiness, a family,
can be destroyed overnight by the fires
of war, illness, suicide, accident, crime, earthquake —

Inside, I find several rainbow plants,
their eyes larger than mine, consoling:
the inscrutable Bishop is talking
to the previous Pope. Both persevering
what her garden is persevering to portray:
all is not lost. The Spirit remembers
in non-human ways our kind intentions,
small kind deeds. Somehow they slap
the wild cosmos, tilt it slightly
in the direction of Beauty, Truth, Goodness.
The shadows and deaths in the house shrink.
Sunlight on the other side provides silvery dreams.
We have not lived in her poems in vain.

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Merton Lee

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Merton Lee is the author of best-selling ebooks (a) One Thousand Gifts (Where Is God When It Hurts?) published free on Smashwords website, and (b) When Bad Things Happen to Good People (God is biting the bullet theodicy) . He is the well-known author of the Christian articles 'Footprints in the sand (New version year 2013) ' and 'Let's do something beautiful for God'. His poem 'The Road Not Taken' is read by thousands of readers.Born in Singapore in 1969, he is a Christian essayist for the past 10 years. He has studied, reflected on and practised the key insights of the perennial wisdom of Christianity and the major religions for 30 years. He works as a senior Accountant and Finance Manager for more than 20 years in the public sector, contributing his best years to public service.He graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1993 with a Bachelor's degree, studying Philosophy, English Literature and Economics. He also obtained Masters degree in Business Administration majoring in Finance from UK (University of Leicester) and another Masters degree in Accountancy from an Australian University with distinguished results, qualifying as an Accountant. He is married for more than 20 years with two children. They live and work in Singapore.
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