Asher Blake’s Astrolabe Prayer

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An astrolabe is a mechanism for taking measurements of the stars, it means literally, star taker, and has an elegant circular shape with precision nodes or engravings. This piece speaks to how we face the otherworldliness of Heaven in our (often insufficient) prayers, and by how Earth too can feel otherworldly. This poem fell in my lap as I first listened to a fantastic album by the Nightblooms, Star-Taker.

Astrolabe Prayer

On my knees I bend my ear so close to
the scuttling
insects, hear the tiny
mechanics of their holy travail
I have feared they entered in,
dreaming.
It is the world I cannot hunt or devour,
by no means overcome,
that balances me in the digital
war-room of its eye.

There are many songs in his dance in the dust
step; four dimensions spill the crackling
energy, just as sperm (and spore/seed,)
can fill a jungle.
Speak on the grinding glacier,
emote the epic course
of victory in a weary warrior’s heart.

Type your prayer, lacking carpet and collection
plate for eucharist, commune with me.
We are as wounded gods, poisoned by
our bite, smoldering creatures
hating to be cast off, but playing
at puppetry ourselves.

Truth to my dog: saying,
the patience is all with her.
Even my beard, fuzzy
ball around my face frustrates me,
but she reclines like a prodigy matured.

Yes, I am taken in my prayers,
I say Sunny, to thrift, to knit
all the little hills we rove,
the rain-rivened, alien hemmed
fields. Like a paper astrolable
I am taken to the contemplation
in my prayers.

They are not even a hill
of beans. My folded hands
are flightless bent-nosed
paper aeroplanes a child throws.
I hold not the power of displacement
in an ant’s possession,
for he exerts all his being
making home,
where I have less in this plaster
cut, these closets that cloak me,
offer me a day.

Loss unless the backbone has been ghosted.
I lie along the skirt, the fringe
of a creative mastermind
in common, like a doodle of a cat
on a napkin’s back.
God, turn me over.

Flip me in your hand like the life of Samson.
Seven zones and locks, seven
dams and docks.
If we can heart lie,
how much can we bear the silver sheen
in wing when we glorify.

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