Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 4: Carl Nellis--'When Dividing the Plunder'

'When Dividing the Plunder'
by Carl Nellis

Those who walked in darkness
have seen a great light, arced
high by harkangels to prick
the hearts of blood, darken
the darkness, impart wisdom
through vision; a light
for the feet, a light
for the path, a lasting light

like the breast of a songbird,
the sun reflected in the eye,
a white star floating on the years
between creation and destination.
A light made for itself,
claimed and reclaiming
gravity in harmony and artful
dances. Light pulled by every
invisible hand, the only thing
seen and unthanked,
demanded and unvisible
until it is a blinding burden,
a painful visitor, a flame
collecting the unpaid price
of a lovely life of sight.

A light like all the white things
in the sky, floating teeth,
walls, the roundness of eyes
outside the iris, falling goose
feathers, smooth unseen skin,
a white nightslip, a nightly sailing
ship, a heavenly ghost,
a high and holy host,
men bleaching grain, the simmering
unsipped kitchen of a girl.

We the walkers have seen
this on the waters, the tombs,
the thousand fish, felt this
on the shoulders crossed
in cane stripes, eaten this
from the old men’s hands,
a pacific light harvesting
direction, light wondering
of reflection, light mighty
of perfection, royal beauty.


  1. Carl Nellis is the best poet I know.

  2. Wow. Very evocative language. Well done.

  3. Thank you, James and Jaimie, for your kind words!