Rite (to Forge Armor for an Orphan)
For Obama, home and abroad
Let cherry blossoms amass into a thinking cap,
resilient as a helmet. Let candor be its visor.
Let mother armadillo offer her bony plates
for impervious gorget and pallettes.
Let porridge pad your ribs as inner cuirass,
and the Queen’s lamb fall to furnish jambeau.
Let your elegant hand in greeting grip
with a gauntlet of persuasive valor.
From father terrapin borrow a shield;
let honor inscribe its coat of arms.
And should the glamour of stardom
reproach your enemy, let it shine, let it shine.
Let mother porcupine give quills
to stitch into a supple tuille.
Let garden arugula arise for brassart
and Swiss chard guard as sturdy cuisse.
The world is heavy freight, it shifts in transit.
Let keenness be the keeper of equilibrium.
Let sky mother bend to protect in transport
each gallant motion of your head.
Let father grass solder his longest blades
into sollerets to strengthen your steps.
Let all that thrives in air conspire to keep you safe,
and character be wrought six-fold.
So let such armor prove disarming.
Let it shine. Let it shine.
Jeanne Marie Beaumont lives in Manhattan and teaches at the 92nd Street Y, and in the Stonecoast MFA Program. She is also director of the annual Frost Place Advanced Poetry Seminar. Her books are Curious Conduct (Boa Editions 2004) and Placebo Effects (Norton 1997).
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