The Prayer of the Mantis
Hold the water within the cupped roses
Until the water itself is rose in my mouth
Break the motion
Of the chrysanthemums beneath my feet,
So that the ambush contains all of my stealth
And just a soft touch, no heavier than sigh,
Precedes the dying of the young beetles.
Keep the lovers
In this, my own garden,
And make them numerous.
But still the commotion of their own fears
Before they come to me,
And sow a quiet in that small place after my anger.
Let the night bear
More of the heavy moths
Which are finer than the silky worms of the spiderwort.
They cheer me when they batter the air so softly,
Lifting me slightly towards the moon
Before they die.
And, of my one thousand children,
Find one greater mother than myself
To stretch along the stems of the blackberry
Where the aphids are harvested best
And where the pollen heavy bees
Grow languid in my reach.
Remember that, but for you,
I have always been alone and, of this, tolerant.
So forgive me for the evenings I forgot to speak to you,
Because often the rifted sky of lights
Stunned me there on the swaying lily
And broke my thought of you off.
It is possible to be both silent and grateful
And, in the end,
I have not asked for much.