A Beatific Vision by Michael Knowles I. Becket in a storm, your flaxen hair Invites my troth against tempestuous tide. “This thing of darkness mine,” prosperity’s prayer, And auricomous woman’s torch my guide, I dredge the finite furrows of my mind. Your mercy maiming my myopic pride By light vouchsafing eyesight to the blind, Blasphemers call my telling overwrought, Their disbelief the sorrow of mankind. My stave against despair: my fear for naught, A lithe and sturdy shining golden rope, By which my newborn virtue is begot. II.
Because dimples cradle me in hope, As baby for his milk, I seek your simper. And wondering if it’s gilt or gold I stope Among the ore till swiftly, even simpler, Halt for light—a beatific vision— I gain for fatal fears of bang and whimper Grit to shun despair and frore perdition. So noble and so honest, so I sigh, My spirit, bursting forth by intuition, Toward the stars: baruch atah Adonai! When reason lacks, I tell in scattered verse The good news in the divots of your smile.
Beckoning, your bosom bids me nurse The fruit of friendship, love, to have my fill: Your charity, a kindness uncoerced; Your sacrifice, a tribute to free will. Your ceaseless heat—my cheeks are set aflame, Engulfing me and burning hotter still: A salve to heal the sick, the blind, the lame, My gracious cure, deservedly to thole. Sun sets on this familiar goodly frame, And rises in the spire of my soul.
Michael Knowles is a Manhattan-based actor, writer, and recent graduate of Yale University, where he earned the Seymour L. Lustman Prize for Outstanding Artistic Contribution. His most recently produced work, a firstever translation for the English stage of Machiavelli’s The Girl From Andros, debuted in 2012 and received critical acclaim as “a watershed event for the English-speaking world.” Find him online at michaeljknowles.com.