The Black Virgin

The Black Virgin

The Black Virgin

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A weekly poem, read by the author.
July 4 2001 3:00 AM

The Black Virgin

You are not part of knowing are you
at the top of the stairs in the white cliff
in the deep valley smelling of summer
you are not part of vanity although
it may have climbed up on its knees to you
and paid to be a name cut on the way
you do not need the candles before you
you would not see them I suppose if you
were to open your eyelids you are not
seen in what is visible it appears
and the crown is not part of you whatever
it is made of nor the robe of days
with its colors glittering you are not
part of pride or owning or understanding
and the questions that have been carried to you
life after life lie there unseen at your feet
oh presence in silence while the dark swifts
flash past with one cry out in the sunlight

Lilly Prize winner W.S. Merwin's latest book of poetry is titled The Folding Cliffs. He is the author of The Vixen.