Approaching that Lacuna

Patmos proves an enigmatic opening. Saint John’s cave
affords what might be apprehended

as a close, noetic covert where the pilgrim may yet
find his knees, and, thereafter,

sinking to his knees, might settle deeply into that
most uncommon prayer, which

avails for the riven pilgrim a late return—the mind
descending to the heart. Even

from this far outpost in the West, one might yet appreciate
that much desired recovery of human

aptitude, even here amid the scatter and distraction
that so often dims our poor constituents.

Scott Cairns is the author of nine books of poetry, including Slow Pilgrim: The Collected Poems, and his latest, Anaphora: New Poems. Cairns received a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, and was awarded the Denise Levertov Award. He was Curators’ Distinguished Professor of English. He currently directs Seattle Pacific University's MFA in Creative Writing. Cairns was the founding director of Writing Workshops in Greece, a program that continues to bring writers to study, engaging with literary life in modern Greece.