Incantation – a poem by Mary Hills Kuck


“Wisdom could not find a place in which she could dwell:
but a place was found (for her) in the heavens.
Then Wisdom went out to dwell with the children of the people,
but she found no dwelling.” 1 Enoch 4*

Ah, Wisdom, how could you not stay?
Were you not there in the glistening dew?
Did you not hide in a flaming leaf’s stem?
Did you not rest in a well of sweet sand?
How could you float in the vibrant scent 
of newly mown hay, of pines in the wind, 
of earth in the rain, and still say no, 
no place for me?

We ache for you in saffron sun’s rays, 
embraces of trees, ephemeral snow, 
the stillness and wild storm of sea,
but you are not there.

I have left you the Word, 
can you not hear 
on the lips of the bard,
can you not see 
in the hand on the page,
can you not know,
in the voice of all flesh?
Listen and see, learn
from the Word.

We’ve corrupted the Word till we speak
nothing true. The lines on the page drift,
then dissipate into the breeze,
mere odors. The bard can’t be heard
in the clatter of hypocrites, frauds.
We’re perishing, can’t find our way.

Ah Wisdom, inhabit the Word and dwell
in us. Come, find your place in our hearts.

*Source: The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Vol. 1, p.33, ca. 100 BCE

Mary Hills Kuck has retired from teaching English and German in the US and Jamaica and now lives in Massachusetts with her family. She has received a Pushcart Prize nomination and has published in a number of journals, including the Connecticut River Review, SLANT, Tipton Poetry Journal, Burningword Literary Journal, From the Depths, Splash, Poetry Quarterly, Main St. Rag, and others. Her chapbook, Intermittent Sacraments, was published in June, 2021, by Finishing Line Press.

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