What the Prophets Foretold

Elizabeth Kirschner

We sleep in the pure night
as though it were a nubile womb.
When we wake up, the sacred
touches us like a scar that needs healing.

The balm that surrounds the earth,
bathes us in the one glorious light
the prophets foretold before they turned
into liars and thieves.

Then we can board our boats,
fish a little without bait or hooks,
only to catch hold of something really big
and really open, like the infinite

cupped in a seashell. Pressed to our ears,
we’ll hear someone call us by name,
saying, “Come, come to the new life,
the one you forfeited on the day

you were born from a nubile womb.
The flowers there need holding,
as do you and you will be held
gently, ever so gently.”

Elizabeth Kirschner
has published three volumes of poetry all with Carnegie Mellon. Her work has appeared widely both nationally and internationally. She has also set her own poetry, not a translation, to Robert Schumann's Dichterliebe, which had its world premiere in Vienna last fall, followed by an American premiere in Boston. The work was recorded at Jordan Hall with soprano Jean Danton and pianist Thomas Stumpf and a CD is forthcoming.