Sam Hamill

It was a dream and you were walking through a field of hosannas

and the immense sea rocked with the blue voices of the dead

when you stretched out supine to dream lotus dreams which I 

could not read.


A cathedral of sky arched overhead. I wanted to know

whether your eyes were closed. I wanted your dream or song or prayer,

o I wanted, and the sin grew brighter and the breeze fairer

that immaculate day


unfolding like a poem, like a song I half-remember and ask,

Did we sing it once a long time ago, did we sing it together, 

was it our hymnal, our beautiful tragic chorus, our anthem, 

the day like a new white canvas,


and here I add marine blue, and there cobalt blue, and a cloud in


and the light is transparent yellow, and the brush makes a sound

like wind over sand, but there are no whitecaps, no sailboats,

only canvas and paint and the body’s dance.


No kite. No gull. No things. Everything goes.

No dream, no dreamer. No certainty, no doubt.

Only the infinitely blossoming hosannas of the emptiness within,

echoing the emptiness without. 

Found In Volume , No. 04
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Sam Hamill
About the Author

Sam Hamill is the author of fourteen volumes of poetry including Almost Paradise: Selected Poems & Translations (2005), Dumb Luck (2002), Gratitude (1998), and Destination Zero: Poems 1970-1995 (1995). He has also published three collections of essays, including A Poet’s Work (1998), and two dozen volumes translated from ancient Greek, Latin, Estonian, Japanese, and Chinese, most recently, Tao Te Ching (2005), The Essential Chuang Tzu and The Poetry of Zen (with J.P. Seaton), Narrow Road to the Interior & Other Writings of Basho, and Crossing the Yellow River: Three Hundred Poems from the Chinese.


He is editor of The Gift of Tongues: Twenty-five Years of Poetry from Copper Canyon PressThe Erotic Spirit,Selected Poems of Thomas McGrathThe Complete Poems of Kenneth Rexroth (with Bradford Morrow), and Selected Poems of Hayden Carruth.