This rose of spiritual gratitude placed at the feet
of a Rasta Warrior Woman showers the earth
with sweetfire and hosannas and early morning glory.
Beneath an African moon shining silver poems
and a river of orchards singing purple praises a black rose
bows her head like a black swan humbled by her crown of jade.
Birdsongs weave grace in southern midnight like wine-drunk
fireflies. Inside this music of earthly spheres
a bronze rose pulses unspeakable peace.
For the sake of a mountain where heaven smiles at heaven,
for the sake of streams rushing sonatas toward the future:
a dew-covered delight shakes crystal secrets from her red velvet bosom.
Crawling sleepily out of dreams tendered
upon pink petals of quiet ecstasy everlasting and everlasting
an island-flavored perfume echoes the scent of a rose.
Roots of a new beginning spread piously forward
into vines of passion and leaves of revelation,
healing petals from the thorny joy of an angel called Jah Gabriel.
A blossom like the naked mystical eye of truth.
Leaves like hands praying down thunder and burning and rain.
Stem like the backbone of a good strong heart.
What is more powerful than the killing crucifixion
of desert heat commanded by a sun with no mercy?
The perfect shade of a flawless rose afloat above the earth.
With its leaves so rich and heavy with elation
and its crimson face made brighter with visions of divinity
the shadow of a certain rose looks just like an angel eating light.
The thorn is a bridge spanning the muddy depths
of agony and sorrow so that one may on the other side
dance to the drums of the rose of joy.
This rose of pearl-coated infinity transforms
the diseased slums of a broken heart
into a palace made of psalms and gold.
And this one is of eternity. It never stops opening.
The beauty it shines is the same as the path it travels in and out
of paradise, every second, of every hour, of every day that comes and goes.
from forthcoming Collected Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black