Belmont Club

The Living Poets society

Readers, and not just Walt, occasionally send verse. One commenter who works in the biological field sends these lines, which he had written earlier but were recalled by the post A Trip To Durban. They are after the Read More.  I think that man’s search for the numinous is not always, nor even largely about a desire for an afterlife; for many that will come if it will. Their search for the holy is fundamentally a quest for love; and more than that, for play. The reader catches that in these lines where the vast distances between the stars are not terrifying voids but playgrounds in which the spheres sing their lullabys.

I’ve got several seas
I’m thinking of, imaginary sails
tracking across great spaces, while the sun
beats down. It’s not as scary as it looks.
The children draw it often with a smile.

Some of Teresa of Avila’s poems express a great longing, not for the preservation of her existence, but for the arrival of love, for the advent of beauty. In her poem, Let Mine Eyes See, she writes:

Let mine eyes see thee, sweet Jesus of Nazareth,
Let mine eyes see thee, and then see death.
Let them see that can, Roses and Jessamine,
Seeing thy face most fair, all blossom are therein.
Flower of seraphin, sweet Jesus of Nazareth.
Let mine eyes see thee, and then see death.
Nothing I require, where my Jesus is;
Anguish all desire, saving only this;
All my help is his, He only succoureth.
Let mine eyes see thee, and then see death.

It’s a sentiment expressed in a particularly Christian way, but the feeling I think, is universal. Anyhow, here’s our commenter’s work.

THE SERIES OF PRIME NUMBERS NEVER ENDS

Prosperity awakened in the cave

a clean, seductive scent, vanilla wood

(French oak staves, medium toast, with overtones

of nutmeg.) Wine matured, money was saved

by not insisting the quartet arrive

on time, hiring a limousine, the like.

My problem was the obverse

of that song,

O precious love

something along those lines

already much too old for reckoning

various side deals, externalities

time folds in, trolling just enough to tease

joy forth—

Above the vineyard, liquid staves

of Swainson’s thrush’s song.

—In early May

addressing each other with “winged words”

—as in the Iliad—flying around

the table a few times, while each jots down

impressions, reservations. But today

is having none of that. The first movement:

the switch in mid-phrase from austere octaves

to rich chords is surprising…and somehow…

touching

However damn playful we get,

however long the rose withholds her bloom,

today I’m going to diet more curiously,

graze on the garden’s lettuces and hope.

These Steller’s jays are all over the place.

It may be time to reassess the sun.

Its keeping quiet, I mean. Let me begin.

No, let’s you do it. I’ve got several seas

I’m thinking of, imaginary sails

tracking across great spaces, while the sun

beats down. It’s not as scary as it looks.

The children draw it often with a smile.

Meanwhile, back in the cave, the mere idea

of others having fun makes us join in,

ignore hay fever symptoms, giving way

to levity and sorrow—equal parts,

but shadows of themselves—so daylight seems

to last longer. The pieces assembled,

the shards, light and shadow, triangular:

acute, obtuse, scalene, isosceles,

right, equilateral (the latter rare).

I wanted our relationship to be

Platonic, if that makes sense, in a dream

like this. But others have a vote. The lake

reflects consensus, light rippling a wind

sent from upstate, unbidden, with its own

agenda. Beavers working up-valley

behind the distant ranges take a look

downstream, alter the waterscape a while

and move on.

—Once, years back, we would make hats

of them, but then thought better of it, so

I’m going hatless this year, in the rain

awaiting global evening. The desired,

highly eccentric intersection of

your passions with our tomfoolery makes us,

innocently enough, begin the dance,

the one that flings and scatters underthings

and damp regrets, until the misaligned

corrections intertwining, happiness

at last arises, none the worse for wear

—but bourgeois pleasures rankle and delight.

Drop sophistries, opt for optimal truths,

secure the flowered fields, that neighbors sleep

contented with the evening song of frogs.

And that’s not all: back in the cave the wine

laid down (as though for all eternity)

beckons, but still the audience assumes

its musical bewilderments will clear

at last, like evening rain. The quartet has

to elevate its game, con brio, as

the rest of us observe and interfere

by not paying attention, not enough

to give the group its due, what with the winds

not being invited. I say let all come

to understand, just like the rest of us,

this weather is a trial, but life is good

out in the forest, huge roomfuls of light

among the sacred trees. Cathedral Pines,

we call the place, though there are lots of oak

and ash, and not a few willow and beech

in great riparian areas reclaimed

by those who came before us.

I think you were there, at least, I am sure

you were not not there, as the spring greened up

just prior to laying gold over the hills

in preparation for late autumn’s rain.

And wind. Like we were saying in the cave,

Adagio ma non troppo is one way

to let the ripening happen, then to play

toward Andante con moto, taking time

out of your day to make sure that the bow

is rosined, so to speak. You know the drill

I left out in the rain? Last week? That thing

is shot. Worse than useless. The gears seized up,

pawls slipped, the clutch completely ruptured. Well,

so much for my building our new dream house.

The funny thing is, you can carry back

a whole hell of a lot of what is lost

way back in that deep wood, infinity,

and piece your notes together, as they fray,

tying the lines, each to the next. A “string”

in geeky lingo or

(some say) a poem,

a story. It’s annoying when the ends

match up exactly, making one suspect

some trick. Life just is not that neat, I think.

I put it down to the existence of God

being provable only mathematically.

V.02.2009


Tip Jar or Subscribe for $5