“Last night I lay a-sleeping,
There came a dream so fair,
I stood in old Jerusalem
Beside the temple there.
I heard the children singing,
And ever as they sang
Methought the voice of angels
From heaven in answer rang,
Methought the voice of angels
From heaven in answer rang.
‘Jerusalem! Jerusalem!
Lift up your gates and sing,
Hosanna in the highest!
Hosanna to your King!’”

These words a soloist at Easter sunrise service is singing
From behind the railing of an old white bandstand
In a grassy field – traditional wooden structure,
American-style, at the U.S. Naval Base at Subic Bay
In the Philippines – to people worshiping
Because that is their desire at this early hour.
How Victorian the diction!

How attentive the little crowd! How warm the air already is!

From the U. S. S. Lynde McCormick, our destroyer
At anchor out in the harbor, a motorboat has brought
Sailors who opted to come, and me – civilian hired to teach
College English courses – a half-hour before
The sun like an egg yolk rises at the horizon.

Now how blue and light and sunned and high the sky!
And how the soprano’s voice is pure and strong
While overhead are– circling, dipping, renewing
Where we can see them in the brightening light —
Ecstatic flocks so white they appear to call “Forevermore”
Of what I have learned are known as fairy terns.

Perhaps some of these people here with me
Now also recall Psalm 55: “Oh that I had wings like a dove!”

Poems by Jonathan Bracker have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry Northwest, Southern Poetry Review and other periodicals, and in eight collections, the latest of which, from Seven Kitchens Press, is Attending Junior High.