Prayer by Dana Gioia : American Life in Poetry
Dana Gioia is the Poet Laureate of California. For six years he served the nation as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. His new book, 99 Poems: New & Selected, has just been published by Graywolf Press. This beautiful poem remembers his first son, Michael Jasper, whom Gioia and his wife Mary lost in infancy to SIDS.
Prayer – Dana Gioia
Echo of the clocktower, footstep
in the alleyway, sweep
of the wind sifting the leaves.
Jeweller of the spiderweb, connoisseur
of autumn’s opulence, blade of lightning
harvesting the sky.
Keeper of the small gate, choreographer
of entrances and exits, midnight
whisper travelling the wires.
Seducer, healer, deity or thief,
I will see you soon enough—
in the shadow of the rainfall,
in the brief violet darkening a sunset—
but until then I pray watch over him
as a mountain guards its covert ore
and the harsh falcon its flightless young.