Monday, January 10, 2022

Maryann Corbett

Maryann Corbett is a Saint Paul, Minnesota Poet who grew up in northern Virginia. She earned her doctorate from the University of Minnesota, and worked for more than thirty years as a language specialist for the Minnesota legislature. Corbett has authored five full-length poetry books: the most recent being In Code (2020, Able Muse). Her third book received the Richard Wilbur Award, which honours metrical poetry.

The following poem was first published in First Things, has also appeared at Versedaily, and is from her book Mid Evil (2014, University of Evansville Press).

Prophesying to the Breath

I'm tired of it, this labored breathing. Tired
of phlegm and coughing and the fight for air,
bent double on the landing of a stair,
in wheezing gasps where nothing is inspired.
Tired of the silence next to me in bed
when measured snoring suddenly goes still;
of counting a nervous one, two, three until
it starts itself again. Tired of my dread.
I want it back: the confidence in air—
ruah, pneuma, spiritus—the breath
that stirs the vocal folds of nuns in choir.
The breath that Is. The sound of something there
guiding this gusty round of birth and death.
The rush of driving wind. The tongues of fire.

This post was suggested by my friend Burl Horniachek.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the author of five poetry collections including Angelicus (2021, Cascade) ― a book of poems written from the point-of-view of angels. His books are available through Amazon, and Wipf & Stock.