James Deahl

The Sorrow of God

A Morning Poem
for Robert Bly

I awake at dawn to a day of frozen sleet,
A cold day at the end of February
With the mountain’s face buried in cloud.

It’s so early no one else seems to be up;
Then I hear a car start, its engine warming
By the house next door. Silently the mists lift.

I read last night that a moment of sorrow
Preceded creation, that act that summoned
The Earth into being, and us with it.

The house finches have already returned;
I see them waiting on the telephone wire.
My neighbour enters his car and drives off.

My mountain ash stands locked in a ring of ice,
But the night’s wind has dropped to nothing.
Later, I suspect, this ice will melt.

The day’s still quiet, my children asleep
In their rooms under the eaves. And I cannot
In my moment of time believe in a god of sorrow.

James Deahl

James Deahl was born in Pittsburgh in 1945, and grew up in that city as well as in and around the Laurel Highlands of the Appalachian Mountains. He moved to Canada in 1970 and holds Canadian citizenship. He’s the author (or, in the case of Tu Fu’s poetry, translator) of twenty literary titles.