Psalms: Voyages on the Dan

Psalms: Voyages on the Dan – P. Calvert Scearce


  1. River Song

What matters are finger tips—a press

of lips sipping skin along a curve of neck.

As in a willow branch ghosting water—

thus symphony palpates. Dear love, permit

me this reaching, up to a caption of sky

bursting for the air of you—forming flesh

as if speech wore its kiss. I have chosen

this word so much like psalms, I open

and cup you with speaking.

River begets nothing and nothing slips into

someone—this voyage on a river raft, an adagios

movement culling in arms. Where psalm—

a promise of praise birching like hinges of carpus

hold as this song clenches then abrades: an omen

of salvation—the amnia of stars. Dear Lord,

smooth me into song awhile and move slow

with your lyric—a note can play off

just an eyelid’s bending.

A robin’s breasting airy full of ripples, carried

within a stroke—twining of feather and wind. How

leaves expose themselves breathing. A voice excuses

a calm of me. To gaze past color and find absinthe

brooms the stream. Our bodies pollinate. Flights sail

into dawn—a horizon’s arch off to shore. Once

performed, a measure skims over to it.

Dear lover,

tide with me awhile.

  1. going under

In waves, circles—disturbance, the clutter of

a river’s flow. Brown water, muddy flux—

our human mixture.

Lord, offer our thirsting.

Tongues beg, spoken only to gaze to ears as flutter.

Over-hanged, the bridge roars like an engine. Do cars

know our solitude underneath? Does driftwood,

garbage; does the moccasin slur from shade.

Bob the buoy under.

Watch does he pop?

Can we swim beneath the clay very long? The water is

the lung of God. The body can get caught in its dirty

inhale—the stomach cramps the stomach. Calve

muscles punch—the torrents of salvation

brings it under.

Lover, I’d like to remain…

Above the crib rafters rusting and the blue sky. Clouds

herd a destination—the palm of the Lord. This is baptism,

dunking until…

This ritual always by the river.

A life begun below the flow. Hands that press against

each other, press against the river. Hands that bend

in water, bend as they move toward

this miraculous Him.

iii. the dream only remembered as another’s dream

Besides honeysuckle, something says it’s June.

Maybe it is how mists levitate after the day’s

sun scours and our skin braids tight, crackled

dried against not each other but our


Nightly, the moon goes along our

drifting. We take darkness as a bird through

air—the cat-bird’s wing stroke is accurate

like the back of a hand settles on the cheek.

Dieu is our word as we cup together.

Our craft

is confined, arms twisting torsos. The wild beds

turn—whirlpools among a universe’s flatter.

Asleep, our eyes resolve moonlight, ripples

down river, down to another town until

it’s dawn stretches us.

Love, I dream the scent

of your hair but I slip in another stream—

blue embryo of myself spun as if it worlds

midair. If I reach for myself there, I’m pulling

forward along with you.

Dear Lord, lead us to

dawn gently, touch us awake as we call ourselves


  1. a song from exile

Dearest love,

Here where thunderstorms spatter streets I fail to recognize you. From the window

where you sit, I know that you too watch steam arise off asphalt. You too recognize

those ghosts of our tongues. Spirals cling to such circles, for its ascendence

bespeaks us to pray—to verify.

A tap on window. A cardinal there. And pigeon staggers fluffed

along in its sidewalk. What afterthoughts proceed shock? Terrible clang of car

horns, thunder strikes—the bounce of beats. Off a distance, dogwoods sway a lie. It’s

still hot even in here. Clammer the room where air has been shut inside. Calmly

exposures to between. Heaven. Hell. Here an angel swashing a dry deck. There.

You. God.