Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Poetry by Patrick Friesen

You Don't Get to Be a Saint (1992)

like stars snow's falling all over town
headlights are passing on the walls
a god's walking barefoot through the drifts

the town drunk's leaning against a tree
he sees a dead hand in the snow
and reaches down to offer his own

you don't get to be a saint the dead man says
you get to warm your hands for a moment
you get to catch your breath and say one thing

I can make you a wizard he says
I can give you life forever
but I can't take the price off your head

I don't want to be a wizard says the drunk
I live with the price and I don't mind dying
I just want to sing a lullaby

he clears his throat and sings the dead man to sleep
then he turns into stillness
like none ever heard ever more still than snow