Two Poems After The Greek Anthology

Polyeuctus at Caesarea, Menologion of Basil II

After “In the Golden Hall of Mazarinus (after the Restoration of Images)”
Greek Anthology, I.106

instead of law another image in the Loeb-green 
a living syntax in the gathered bittercress 
a child in the meadow holds and also knows to make a shield
of her shirtfront for her mouth and nose so I can pass 
in open air unharmed    absorbed 
instead in the specific tenderness    of bract and culm   
and beardless node    a wedding-mist 
of tiny florets structuring with multiplanar variance 
the foot or two my eye    is from the ground as if    
autochthonous an auto    -focus beep this 
little reflex prism    -song that keeps the handedness 
of pictured cress    the rightness of the earth the lens 
inverts    that mirroring restores    to fresh complexity    
and makes again a golden hall as if 
of Christic images it is    too easy to destroy    the dogma rose     
is rose is rose    the living Word is    delicate and iterates
the world on world    my mother needs to know is there 
to hate the less the one she’s in in chronic
pain this    interplaning leaf on leaf    into a book 
that doesn’t hurt    for once the ones I love 
a loving atavist instead    the antique feeling of 
obedience    when law was lamb 
set loose    and gentleness 
was not achieved    was not an amethyst 
of Syracuse engraved    with Victory astride 
a plunging horse of perfect workmanship    or not 
astride but with her arms    around its neck restraining it    this
brokered peace an image is    an armistice  an interval
of breath    of rocket-cress to soothe the field-wound    the angel
Syntax    cripples you then heals you too 

After “On the Church of the Holy Martyr Polyeuctus,”
Greek Anthology, I.10

must-lute, now-lute:      a song is plucked as is 
an epigram at random from     a stephanus or wreath 
of copied lines inscribed in stone they indicate 
is veined with river-green and glorifies the parent 
of the renovator who alone with added ell 
and apse did violence to time     a chance or glimpsed
integrity integrity     as glimpse     a speckled bird 
that knows to rest     behind the eye     the ounce 
by ounce a daughter is     at first the fear she won’t
amass the stone     on river-stone retained inside
the mouth that straightens speech     precision is 
a heap     of cones and cardiums and murexes that teach
the golden increment that adds up to the armored 
home you leave     the multi-family edifice among 
the ricegrass hills of Kennewick where cousins 
emptied firearms into a bale of hay by now 
is sold     my mother helps her mother throw away    
a life’s collectibles and asks and this     and this does this 
have memory attached     this image of a lamb 
in porcelain that hangs upon a string you 
randomly accrued     a fleece with dew     the mind     
wrings dew into the bowl a poem is     enough to sip 
the morning’s tangent through the wetted panicles 
that hide the bird that knows     its silence is its best
defense     the future is secured withholding 
singing’s thoughtless ordering     of air that just 
as soon decays the narthex cut     from meadows made 
to flower in the rock these lines were     graven in    
to prove that children also build     where others built
to barricade against a rage     for images     the vivid 
stippled baby’s-breath beside the ditch     the infant 
daughter of a friend upon    a zeroed scale to see
what she retained     what milk-weight     sucked 
her tongue un     -lasered of the minor web that makes
the mouth a future knot     of seed and stone and shell