A Vase of Cobalt Glass

Just last week it held lilies, snapdragons,
           and baby’s breath,
but now I admire it for itself alone
and do not regret the passing of the flowers.

In all hours, it catches the light where it sits on the sill,
the cobalt glass an urn-shaped prism of sapphire
seen against a backdrop of sky
that, by contrast, seems just a so-so attempt at blue.

If I could hand you the form of a sonnet
           without the words
or a symphony without sounds,
pass them to you like this empty vase—
just the shape of the thing cast in once-molten glass,
a translucent vessel catching every nuance of light,

then we might behold the receptacles we create
to hold the magic we make
out of pigment, sound, stone, and words—
glimpse the invisible wind
           by observing birds.

—Timothy Walsh, Madison, WI