Sunday, June 23, 2013

Personalist Poetry - Zagajewski and Cairns

The Beauty Created by Others
Adam Zagajewski

Only in the beauty created
by others is there consolation,
in the music of others and in others’ poems. 
Only others save us,
even though solitude tastes like 
opium. The others are not hell,
if you see them early, with their 
foreheads pure, cleansed by dreams. 
That is why I wonder what 
word should be used, “he” or “you.” Every “he” 
is a betrayal of a certain “you” 
but in return someone else’s poem 
offers the fidelity of a sober dialogue.

H/T Rosman at Cosmos The In Lost

The Entrance of Sin
Scott Cairns

Yes, there was a tree, and upon it, among the                         The man said, "The

wax leaves, an order of fruit which hung plen-                          woman You put at my
tifully, glazed with dew of a given morning.                               side--she gave me of the
And there had been some talk off and on--                              tree, and I ate."

nothing specific--about forgoing the inclina-                                        --Genesis 3.12
tion to eat of it. But sin had very little to do
with this or with any outright prohibition.

For sin had made its entrance long before the

serpent spoke, long before the woman and the
man had set their teeth to the pale, stringy
flesh, which was, it turns out, also quite with-
out flavor. Rather, sin had come in the midst of
an evening stroll, when the woman had
reached to take the man's hand and he with-
held it.

In this way, the beginning of our trouble came

to the garden almost without notice. And in
later days, as the man and the woman wan-
dered idly about their paradise, as they contin-
ued to enjoy the sensual pleasures of food and
drink and spirited coupling, even as they sat
marveling at the approach of evening and the
more lush approach of sleep, they found within
themselves a developing habit of resistance.

One supposes that, even then, this new taste

for turning away might have been overcome,
but that is assuming the two had found the
result unpleasant. The beginning of loss was
this: every time some manner of beauty was
offered and declined, the subsequent isolation
each conceived was irresistible.

H/T Elizabeth Duffy here and here.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Man of Steel

Three things.




from "Crucifixion" by artist Daniel Mitsui
Man of Steel? 

and this:

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Signposts in a Strange Dream

"A friend from Yale who hadn’t been in touch since graduation looked him up after envisioning a suicide attempt; the phone in Murphy’s Fargo home rang just as the local retired farmer, hunting enthusiast and poet loaded his double-barreled shotgun. Instead of ending his life, a two-hour conversation led him to relinquish the gun. 
"After his conversion, Murphy still hadn’t completely resolved his past, he said, including sexual abuse by an altar boy at age 6 and by an almost-ordained Jesuit priest he met in college at age 18. He also had lingering questions about his homosexuality and the church. 
But four weeks after he heard the booming voice, he found peace. 
It came by way of a dream about Pope John Paul II, he said. 
“I walked him down to the waterfront, and he said vespers and heard my confession, but mainly he heard me bitching about the Catholic attitude toward gays,” Murphy said. “At the conclusion of the dream, all he said was, ‘Te Dominus amat’… He didn’t say, ‘Ego te absolvo,’ ‘I forgive you,’ but simply, ‘God loves you.’" 
"The next morning, Murphy turned on the radio and heard the bells from St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome alerting the world that the pope had died."

Full story here (requires subscription)


A chapel, not a church:

just a clearing in the wood
of aspen, pine and birch,
where a rude altar stood

pegged by a boy's hands;
behind it a birchwood cross
cross-lashed, but neither stands.
They are gone under the moss.

When I quit Wilderness Camp
I rose up from my knees
and left the altar lamp
burning in the trees.

Summits would loom above
the stony trails I trod.
Sex led me to love;
love bound me to God.


The night you died, I dreamed you came to camp

to hear confession from an Eagle scout
tortured by forty years of sin and doubt.
You whispered Vespers by a hissing lamp

Handlers, allowing you to hike with me,
followed us to the Bad Axe waterfront
down a firebreak this camper used to hunt.
Through all I said you suffered silently.

I blamed the authors of my unbelief:
St. Paul, who would have deemed my love obscene,
the Jesuit who raped me as a teen,
the altar boy when I was six, the grief

of a child chucked from Eden, left for dead
by Peter's Church and all the choirs above.
In a thick Polish accent choked with love,
Te Dominus amat was all you said.

--Timothy Murphy