Richard Blessing, Professor of English at the University of Washington, born on September 11, 1939.
In addition to poetry, he has published a number of articles and two books of criticism, Wallace Stevens’ ”Whole Harmonium“ (Syracuse University Press, 1970) and Theodore Roethke’s Dynamic Vision (Indiana University Press. 1974).
DIRECTIONS FOR DYING
Eating nothing for days but a forkful of feathers,
you will lie in the soft twin bed of your shadow,
and will see how it whitens like a flowering tree.
At last you will dream, recalling your sorrows,
while the pain fits snugly as a flaming shawl,
while the mice in your bones begin to gnaw free.
You will have time to weave a tent of your breath
before silence rises and falls like a stone bell
and the light deepens in the cave of your eyes.
It is not like entering a mirror nor like closing a door
Nor like going to sleep in a hammock of bones.
You may expect what you like. It is nothing like that.