Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dead Poets Month I

I always celebrate November with poetry. Piles of years and books on philosophy have failed to give me more sense of the meaning of life and death than a really good poem (though the best philosophers often write like poets--Pascal, Augustine). So, the month of the dead is "Dead Poets Month."

To start us off, some Lithuanian remnants. (If YOU have a favorite dead poet, let me know!)

On the Road, Czeslaw Milosz

To what summoned? And to whom? blindly, God almighty,
through horizons of woolly haze.

Fata morganas of coppery scales on the fortresses of
maritime provinces.

Through a smoke of vines burning over creekbeds or through
the blue myrrh of dimmed churches,

To the unattainable, small valley, shaded forever by words,
where the two of us, naked and kneeling, are cleansed by an
unreal spring.

Without the apple of knowledge, on long loops from earth to
sky, from sky to the dried blood of potter's soil.

Disinherited of prophecies, eating bread at noon under a
tall pine stronger than any hope.

(St.-Paul-de-Vence, 1967)

Image: CD Friedrich, Man and Woman Contemplating Over the Moon


Anonymous said...

Rilke comes to mind. Never enough time to read poetry, though.

e2 said...

Oh, yes! I'll have to digs into some Rilke for sure. Time: yes, poetry takes more time than most prose. That's why I have to devote a whole month of the year to it--and I still only read about 10-15 poems during that time! It's a good contemplative discipline.

G said...

Jessica Powers is one of my favorites. Here's a sample:

Creature of God

That God stands tall, incomprehensible,
infinite and immutable and free
I know. Yet more I marvel as His call
trickles and thunders down through space to me.

that from His far eternities He shouts
to me, one small inconsequence of day.
I kneel down in the vastness of His love,
cover myself with creaturehood and pray.

God likes me covered with my creaturehood
and with my limits spread across His face
He likes to see me lifting to his eyes
even the wretchedness that dropped his grace.

I make no guess what greatness took me in.
I only know, and relish it as good,
that I am gathered more to God's embrace
the more I greet him to through my creaturehood.

Copyright permission to publish has been given by the
Carmel of the Mother of God, Pewaukee Wisconsin. All rights reserved.