For the listener, who listens in the snow, And, nothing himself, beholds nothing that is not there and the nothing that is. — Wallace Stevens, “The Snow Man”
There ought not to be anything but that my mind has ordered it so —
So I had been taught — for the mind is designer
Reality but the by-blow, bastard child that diminishes as I diminish
But that the Emperor of Ice-Cream has clay feet
Which stand on eternity’s threshold eyeing a feast.
There the bread and wine of Thy design
Grain and grape sweetly lies upon the tongue
To “taste and see the goodness of the LORD”
Yet nothing tasting if not sanctified by Thy Word
Blood spilled and body broken
Spoken gospel of love heard by a few
Who once nothing being are born in You
Till nothing become sons and daughters
Alive to You.
Laura at dVerse asks us to address paradox as a matter for today’s “Poetics” prompt, including using as a starting point and/or epigraph the above Wallace Stevens quotation. Click on Mr. Linky for more and join in!
Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember
Sonnet 73: That Time of Year (Shakespeare)
That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. In me thou see’st the twilight of such day As after sunset fadeth in the west, Which by and by black night doth take away, Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest. In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, As the death-bed whereon it must expire, Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by. This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
There is a time in everyone’s life when God breaks in, when all the artifices of man crumble like so much dust. Culture, race, language, identity, and time itself melts alway before the eternal, incorruptible, all-encompassing presence of God Himself. His timelessness steps into our time. The eternal Word takes on flesh to speak in a human tongue eternal truth. Grace and mercy descends to rescue a cruel and corrupt world. Love looks into our eyes with everlasting tenderness.
It can’t be smoke that drives you here like a leaf
Caught in a funeral pyre or a sinner fleeing in shame!
What fell blast of Hell’s eternal fire brings you, cruel shade
Upon my porch, and feeds the tendrils of your fiery flame?
Begone, you ghost of the foul-mouthed past that stalks
The children of men, to warn of never-ending death
And griefs that ne’er can mend! Begone upon your walks
Of doom and leave me to life’s revelry and vice
Until its trinkets be a dream and I a shadow like you.