Posts Tagged earth

THE MEASURE OF ALL THINGS

Witness The Great Wallenda, an aging

high wire artiste, who, for his final act,

required technology’s summation –

tv, automobiles, bottles of plasma;

crossed a canyon on cable thin as a wrist;

walked on wire a quarter of a mile

above the earth. He stood, twice, on his head

and the crowds of thousands gasped, then cheered,

the noise muffled in that oh! profound gorge.

 

 

 

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VALLE CRUCIS, LLANTYSILIO, LLANGOLLEN

Valle Crucis Abbey, Richard Wilson, circa 1760

 

 

Where willow stoops in curling shallows, May

stirs branches that creak like rigging or rub

like silk. The cuckoo sings its unsettling,

solemn roundelay. Sun gilds the abbey’s

west wall. The glassless rose window is a

blinded eye in a Romanesque skull –

indulgence in a wilderness. The Blood of

the Lamb coursed through the old ways of Keltoi,

Celtae, Celts. Time the dissembler leaches

the earth of language, artefact, intent.

 

A wall in the south transept was scorched by mishap

or mayhem. Dousing the flames, did the monks

break their vow? The Reformation empowered

even Trappists. Rulers destroy or endow

for glory. Defenders of parliament

effaced the cross (placed on a pagan mound)

carved to honour the Princes of Powys.

Even at the world’s furthest edge, even

beside an unkempt road through a valley,

was always a junction of opposites –

the classic, classical dichotomies

of the cerebellum and the soul, of

carapace and substance, tyranny and

learning. An oak tree, shaped like a brain, spins

the sun’s threads and is cleft, halved – fire and leaf.

 

 

 

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THE WAR ON TERROR

 

2001

Riding the F Train that August –

from Queens to Manhattan, Jamaica

Estates to Times Square – were all

of the hues and tongues and tribes and faiths.

Dead at our door, on our return,

wings stretched as if in flight,

lay a hen harrier, a female.

You chose to bury it gently

in the warm September earth.

Five thousand miles away, we watched

the towers fall. Later, building Babel

replaced the grace of humanity.

So many of the peoples of the earth

had gathered there. In the plaza’s fountain,

a bronze globe had turned perpetually. All

went to dust in a whirligig of fire.

2003

Atlantic waves broke on the empty sand.

Undeterred by us, a beetle crossed the dunes.

Almost due south was Casablanca.

…in all the towns in all the world

We followed the war by satellite. Graven

effigies fell. Truths unfurled like smoke, like spume.

In the estuary – where ships from Tyre

and Ostia Antica had hoved to –

at low tide, small crabs emerged, waving.

in all the gin joints in all the towns…

Wretches, saved, like you and me!

 

 

 

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THE MEASURE OF ALL THINGS

Blondin carrying his manager, Harry Colcord, on a tightrope.

Blondin carrying his manager, Harry Colcord, on a tightrope.

Witness The Great Wallenda, an aging

high wire artiste, who, for his final act,

required technology’s summation –

tv, automobiles, bottles of plasma;

crossed a canyon on cable thin as a wrist;

walked on wire a quarter of a mile

above the earth. He stood, twice, on his head

and the crowds of thousands gasped, then cheered,

the noise muffled in that oh! profound gorge.

 

 

 

, , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments