It is for living we are born
for tasting life, for drinking it down
in sips or gulps, to drink it all,
bitter or sweet, not
to turn the cup away, to keep it
safe and full, untouched.
This is the cup we thirst for,
that the dead yearn for.
It does no good to let it spoil.
Drink! Drink it down to the dregs
and ask for more!
No wine is sweeter, no water
can better quench your thirst.
It is the drop of rain upon your tongue,
tasting of wind and sharp as thunder’s light,
sweeter than tears, the taste of moonlit night
and mountain heights, of stories just begun.
It is the sudden crash that shakes your walls
and rumbles in your bones and clears your ears,
the violent sound of hooves, the maddened cheers
of hunters, cacophony of canine howls.
It is the flash that rends the shivering sky
and takes your sight and breath and leaves you free
to leave behind all that you’d meant to be
to spread your wings and finally learn to fly.
“Here,” she said, her hand smoothing
the faded fabric. “Some admire
the perfect regularity of patchwork repeats—
log cabins, bridal rings, flying geese—
or the complex covers, Star of Jerusalem, for example,
but this is the quilt I love.”
The cloth was worn, the colors
did not match, the needlework was crude.
“Each piece tells a story—here, the marriage vows—“
rings entwined like knot work, tied with flowers,
“and here a newborn child—“
a tiny foot traced in uneven stitches
“and here—ah, here, the one they lost. Every stitch
is a memory, hand and heart united in tracing shapes,
and rough-stitched dates that stretch over decades.
And here, do you see the stains? This
is no showpiece. It was used.”