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Suite for Emily 7. A Style of Prayer, by Lynda Hull

June 11, 1995

There is a prayer that goes Lord I am powerless

over these carnivorous streets, the fabulous

breakage, the world's ceaseless perpetuum mobile,

like some renaissance design, lovely & useless

to harness the forces of weather, the planet's

dizzy spin, this plague. A prayer that asks

where in the hour's dark moil is mercy?

Ain't no ladders tumbling down from heaven

for what heaven we had we made. An embassy

of ashes & dust. Where was safety? Home?

Is this love, staff, orb & firmament?

Parallel worlds, worlds within worlds--chutes

& trapdoors in the mind. Sisters & brothers,

the same thing's going down all over town, town

after town. There is a prayer that goes Lord,

we are responsible. Harrow us through the waves,

the runnels & lace that pound, comb, reduce us so

we may be vessels for these stories.

Oh, the dazzling men torn one from the other,

these women taken, these motherless children.

Perhaps there's no one to fashion such new grace,

the world hurtling its blind proposition

through space & prayer's merely a style of waiting

beyond the Hour of Lead --

Remembered, if outlived,

As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow

First Chill--then Stupor--then the letting go . . .

But Oh, let Emily become anything

but the harp she is, too human, to shiver

grievous such wracked & torn discord. Let her be

the foam driven before the wind over the lakes,

over the seas, the powdery glow floating

the street with evening--saffron, rose, sienna

bricks, matte gold, to be the good steam

clanking pipes, that warm music glazing the panes,

each fugitive moment the heaven we choose to make.

From "The Only World" by Lynda Hull. (HarperCollins: $12; 81 pp.) 1995 Reprinted by permission.

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