Today's poem

The poetry second prize of 2019's Keats-Shelley Prize is as follows. Very interested in poet's imagination to a period when gods leave there - mysterious time for anybody.

by Tammy Armstrong

Because all the minor gods
            and the ones with their slipping wigs          
            their clacking teeth     and the many armed
cloven-hooved            false-headed                and false-tailed
have given up their shapes                  climbed down from their offices
            and built wings to carry them off to damp caves and sea stacks
we’ve uncoupled from their shines and fiery dusts
for a little while          though their clockwork still clitters through us     
still managing our small bad thoughts
the dark unentered spaces we each contain    undone at the springs.
But even without their flimsy attentions
            their whatever-it-is that skies and drops shadow
we can still feel into the shapes of others
            wading across rivers
or stand at the ledge of over-night sinkholes
            wondering at the mouth of them
or guess which fields might burn off their blight
and which might keep star-shaped     curlicued creatures
            blind within their soily sockets of dark.

Really, we are more like that friend of yours than we think
            the one you saw that final time           decades ago
leaving for elsewhere      
            shoeless           temporarily godless
but pausing     for a moment at the library’s threshold
            inviting you to follow
him      stepping out into the day’s glare-whiteness        
and you           still in your chair             
            watching his darkened soles turn into sunlight.

(ritual in KANNAZUKI 神無月)