Nothing in Heaven Functions as It Ought
Nothing in Heaven functions as it ought:
Peter's bifocals, blindly sat on, crack;
His gates lurch wide with the cackle of a cock,
Not turn with a hush of gold as Milton had
Gangs of the slaughtered innocents keep huffing
The nimbus off the Venerable Bede
Like that of an old dandelion gone to seed;
And the beatific choir keep breaking up,
But Hell, sleek Hell, hath no freewheeling part:
None takes his own sweet time, none quickens
Ask anyone, "How come you here, poor heart?"—
And he will slot a quarter through his face.
You'll hear an instant click, a tear will start
Imprinted with an abstract of his case.
From Cross Ties: Selected Poems
(University of Georgia
Press, 1985), copyright
(c) 1985 by X. J. Kennedy. For
reprint, transmit by internet, or for any other
purpose, address Curtis Brown Ltd., Ten Astor
New York, NY 10003.