Eric Pankey

At the threshold of the divine, how to knowBut indirectly, to hear the static asPattern, to hear the rough-edged white noise as song—Wait, not as song—but to intuit the songbirdWithin the thorn thicket, safe, hidden there.Every moment is not a time for songOr singing. Imagine a Buddha, handmade,Four meters high of compacted ash, the ashRemnants of joss sticks that incarnated prayer.With each breath, the whole slowly disintegrates.With each footfall, ash shifts. The Buddha crumbles.To face it, we efface it with our presence.An infant will often turn away as ifNot to see is the same as not being seen.There was fire, but God was not the fire.

Feature Date


Selected By

Share This Poem

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Print This Poem

Share on print
Eric Pankey

Eric Pankey is the author of fourteen poetry collections and recently a collection of essays, Vestiges. A new collection of poems, Not Yet Transfigured is forthcoming in 2021 and a chapbook, The Future Perfect: A Fugue, which was selected by John Yau for the Tupelo Press Snowbound Chapbook Award, is forthcoming in 2022.

More at

“Eric Pankey’s sensibility is an unerringly generous one: he is always willing to step first onto unsteady ground, to test it for those who might follow. The poems of Crow-Work, like good gleaners, seek out possibility and sustenance. They are skilled, deft, and dazzlingly alert. Just when I think they have brought me as close as possible to the dark and unknowable things that make awe possible, they bring me closer. The journey is unnerving, intimate, and thrilling.”
—Mary Szybist

"The delicacy and accuracy we have come to expect from Eric Pankey are here on display and as deftly deployed as ever. Pankey remains one of our leading practitioners of the metaphysical poem."
—C. Dale Young


Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.