Age of Jahiliyah

A blog of wide and varied interest, including Islam, Muslims, Poetry, Art and much more.

Archive for the day “April 11, 2011”

Ode to the Confederate Dead by Allen Tate

Row after row with strict impunity
The headstones yield their names to the element,
The wind whirrs without recollection;
In the riven troughs the splayed leaves
Pile up, of nature the casual sacrament
To the seasonal eternity of death;
Then driven by the fierce scrutiny
Of heaven to their election in the vast breath,
They sough the rumour of mortality.

Autumn is desolation in the plot
Of a thousand acres where these memories grow
From the inexhaustible bodies that are not
Dead, but feed the grass row after rich row.
Think of the autumns that have come and gone!-
Ambitious November with the humors of the year,
With a particular zeal for every slab,
Staining the uncomfortable angels that rot
On the slabs, a wing chipped here, an arm there:
The brute curiosity of an angel’s stare

Turns you, like them, to stone,
Transforms the heaving air
Till plunged to a heavier world below
You shift your sea-space blindly
Heaving, turning like the blind crab.

Dazed by the wind, only the wind
The leaves flying, plunge

You know who have waited by the wall
The twilight certainty of an animal,
Those midnight restitutions of the blood
You know-the immitigable pines, the smoky frieze
Of the sky, the sudden call: you know the rage,
The cold pool left by the mounting flood,
Of muted Zeno and Parmenides.
You who have waited for the angry resolution
Of those desires that should be yours tomorrow,
You know the unimportant shrift of death
And praise the vision
And praise the arrogant circumstance
Of those who fall
Rank upon rank, hurried beyond decision-
Here by the sagging gate, stopped by the wall.

Seeing, seeing only the leaves
Flying, plunge and expire

Turn your eyes to the immoderate past,
Turn to the inscrutable infantry rising
Demons out of the earth-they will not last.
Stonewall, Stonewall, and the sunken fields of hemp,
Shiloh, Antietam, Malvern Hill, Bull Run.
Lost in that orient of the thick-and-fast
You will curse the setting sun.

Cursing only the leaves crying
Like an old man in a storm

You hear the shout, the crazy hemlocks point
With troubled fingers to the silence which
Smothers you, a mummy, in time.

The hound bitch
Toothless and dying, in a musty cellar
Hears the wind only.

Now that the salt of their blood
Stiffens the saltier oblivion of the sea,
Seals the malignant purity of the flood,

What shall we who count our days and bow
Our heads with a commemorial woe
In the ribboned coats of grim felicity,
What shall we say of the bones, unclean,
Whose verdurous anonymity will grow?
The ragged arms, the ragged heads and eyes
Lost in these acres of the insane green?
The gray lean spiders come, they come and go;
In a tangle of willows without light
The singular screech-owl’s tight
Invisible lyric seeds the mind
With the furious murmur of their chivalry.

We shall say only the leaves
Flying, plunge and expire

We shall say only the leaves whispering
In the improbable mist of nightfall
That flies on multiple wing;
Night is the beginning and the end
And in between the ends of distraction
Waits mute speculation, the patient curse
That stones the eyes, or like the jaguar leaps
For his own image in a jungle pool, his victim.

What shall we say who have knowledge
Carried to the heart? Shall we take the act
To the grave? Shall we, more hopeful, set up the
grave
In the house? The ravenous grave?

Leave now
The shut gate and the decomposing wall-
The gentle serpent, green in the mulberry bush,
Riots with his tongue through the hush-
Sentinel of the grave who counts us all!

 

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Voyages by Hart Crane

I

 

Above the fresh ruffles of the surf

Bright striped urchins flay each other with sand.

They have contrived a conquest for shell shucks,

And their fingers crumble fragments of baked weed

Gaily digging and scattering.

 

And in answer to their treble interjections

The sun beats lightning on the waves,

The waves fold thunder on the sand;

And could they hear me I would tell them:

 

O brilliant kids, frisk with your dog,

Fondle your shells and sticks, bleached

By time and the elements; but there is a line

You must not cross nor ever trust beyond it

Spry cordage of your bodies to caresses

Too lichen-faithful from too wide a breast.

The bottom of the sea is cruel.

 

II

 

–And yet this great wink of eternity,

Of rimless floods, unfettered leewardings,

Samite sheeted and processioned where

Her undinal vast belly moonward bends,

Laughing the wrapt inflections of our love;

 

Take this Sea, whose diapason knells

On scrolls of silver snowy sentences,

The sceptred terror of whose sessions rends

As her demeanors motion well or ill,

All but the pieties of lovers’ hands.

 

And onward, as bells off San Salvador

Salute the crocus lustres of the stars,

In these poinsettia meadows of her tides,–

Adagios of islands, O my Prodigal,

Complete the dark confessions her veins spell.

 

Mark how her turning shoulders wind the hours,

And hasten while her penniless rich palms

Pass superscription of bent foam and wave,–

Hasten, while they are true,–sleep, death, desire,

Close round one instant in one floating flower.

 

Bind us in time, O Seasons clear, and awe.

O minstrel galleons of Carib fire,

Bequeath us to no earthly shore until

Is answered in the vortex of our grave

The seal’s wide spindrift gaze toward paradise.

 

III

 

Infinite consanguinity it bears
This tendered theme of you that light
Retrieves from sea plains where the sky
Resigns a breast that every wave enthrones;
While ribboned water lanes I wind
Are laved and scattered with no stroke
Wide from your side, whereto this hour
The sea lifts, also, reliquary hands.

And so, admitted through black swollen gates
That must arrest all distance otherwise,
Past whirling pillars and lithe pediments,
Light wrestling there incessantly with light,
Star kissing star through wave on wave unto
Your body rocking!
and where death, if shed,
Presumes no carnage, but this single change,-
Upon the steep floor flung from dawn to dawn
The silken skilled transmemberment of song;

Permit me voyage, love, into your hands . .

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