W.F. Lantry

W.F. Lantry received his Licence and Maitrise from the Universite de Nice, M.A. in English from Boston University and Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. He is the recipient of the Paris/Atlantic Young Writers Award, and was a finalist in the 2009 Fernando Rielo International Award in Mystical Poetry. In 2010, he won the CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry, and was commended for his entry to the International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine in the U.K.His poems have appeared in Gulf Coast, Prairie Fire, Unsplendid, Istanbul Literary Review, The French Literary Review, The Literary Bohemian and The Wallace Stevens Journal. He currently serves as the Director of Academic Technology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.


Wind

"...the very word is like a bell
To toll me back..."
-Keats

I would unlearn this gift, and make a song
worthy of you, beyond the boundaries of
these constant footsteps, racing to a goal
a few lines on. The resonance I've learned
is not the wind around us. If I could
I'd let the harmonies I labor go

and simply draw your figure on the air
between us, as if form and words were one.
Take then these hands, my love, that tap the wood
ten times per line, take all the sounds I know
all the devices I have ever used
to beckon charm delight or mesmerize,

consume them in your vortex, where all things
are one: I give them to you freely. Let
their energy be yours. They're all I have
of grace, these distillations of the breath
of all who walked this earth before, and sang
their love or loss, or simply what they saw-

allow their song, through mine, to feed you, love,
then sing! It is your gift, the breathing voice
that lets me breathe again as you return
all I have given you, now changed to wind
moving around us, as the sound of bells
recalls us to this peaceful moment here.


Gacela of the Shikra


Rough wings guarding the currents of this air
and all the wind encompasses, whose breath
finds every tiny leaf and turns its stem
until outlines reflect his hovering,

as if the land reflected every sky
he's ever flown, as if its limbs were maps
his eye could read in memory until
he found the object of his voyaging,

or if broken cascades echo his voice
and he, in navigating through those limbs
above the stream, remembered every branch
that pointed his direction through this shade,

so, guided through his rounds, and unconfused
by changes in direction of the wind,
seeming to move on his familiar path,
he hovers in one place, blinded and lost.


Ghazal of the Evening Moth


Your rose is efflorescent candlelight,
your cup holds iridescent candlelight.

The mockingbird within your garden sings
the loss of evanescent candlelight.

The goblet in your hands, the unmixed wine,
reflects an opalescent candlelight.

Come to your window, contemplate lilacs
clothed only in translucent candlelight.

Walk on the terrace, I would see you there,
bathed in your acquiescent candlelight.

Beneath this moon, half-dancing in descent,
your skin is pearlescent candlelight.

William, this longing tricks your drunken eyes
blinded by this incessant candlelight.


from Chaplet for Our Lady

XXII


Just as the veil is lifted, and the threads
each in their woven splendor, like the stars
in constellations, patterned to a whole
the consort dancing in our sky at dawn
describe a vessel holding beauty still
until we find within us strength to drink

or as the rose canes, rooted in this loam
the diamond soil broken by red blood
weave thorns together, climbing, till their leaves
at moonset garlanded with pearled dew
nourish rose petals red beside the breath
of quiet flames meant to illuminate

so each of these small words is one cut stone
set by my hands in layers to construct
the patterned walls of each successive room
building the called for temple, whose design
conveyed in silence, guides the steady work
until a contemplative place is built

but on that cloak a different kind of art
of signs and mysteries freely appeared
not made, but caused to be, willed by her love
where anyone with sight may come to drink
the flowing waters of eternal grace
where every ray illuminates our path.

 


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