Monday, December 20, 2010

You say, I say

You say, I say
(correspondence with a departed poet, KSJ)


Dear Anne

It may be
that you,

Living as you do
in the radiance of city din, or eating
underneath His chin,

Are not quick to hear
poems from half dead lips,
or peer
into the dark abyss from which you
are so greatly liberated.


But,
if our Brother would consent
I pray he pass a fond hello, or
let you know that one
who labors under sun with double heart and dusty eyes
has found within your words
a sister in the soul.

--

It’s a strange thing,
this parting of the heart and posting light

(or misery)

for all the colony to see, but
could you ever have imaged that
your words would reach
three hundred fifty suns
into the future?

And now, here you are
right up front: the “first” gal poet in an anthology of American works.

Anne Bradstreet
1612 to 1672

--


I thought to tell you first, how things have changed—
Your wilderness is parking lot
and littered with machines beyond your dreams.
We wear less clothes or sometimes hold your ilk,
in poor repute.

Indeed, we think of Puritans as pleasure snuffing prudes--
stern faced zealots with a taste for gloom and work in general
But then I read your words and find

SUPRIZE!

A red blooded woman with a taste for joy and life in general

--
And now,
What’s this? Could it be
that crickets filled your ears as they do mine

Or that
oak trees powered through your soul
like living praise?



You say:

Then on a stately Oak I cast mine Eye
Whose ruffling top the Clouds seem’d to aspire
How long since thou wast in thine infancy:
They strength and stature, more thy years admire.
Hath hundred winters past since thou wast born,
or thousand since thou brakest thy shell of horn?


I say:

A seed is power
Spewing power,
Stink or weed
Or common flower.

You say:
I heard the merry grasshopper then sing,
the black-clad Cricket bear a second part;
They kept on tune and plaid on the same string
Seeming to glory in their little art.


I say:

Cricket and cicada calling
A walling falling on dawn
Black audio, rainbow snow
Blowing like a blizzard through my ears.


You Say:

Thy Swift Annual and diurnal course,
they daily streight and yearly oblique path,
Thy pleasing fervor and they scorching force
All mortals here they feeling knowledge hath;

I say:

Brother sun slices though the heavens
Like a bobsled
Running down a course of rigid nothingness
Ever pushed and pulled by pulsars
and the stellar winds of the Milky Way,
But still, He smashes the horizon
Exactly when, and
where He should.

You say:

What’s glory like to thee,
Soul of this world, this Universes Eye?


I say:

He steels a peak through the hole in the sky
We call the sun.

You say:

In a secret place where I once stood,
Close by the banks of lacrym flood,
I heard two sisters reason on
Things that are past and things to come.
One Flesh was called, who had her eye
On worldly wealth and vanity;
The other Spirit who did rear
Her thoughts unto a higher sphere

I say:

I got this doppelganger henchman
with the lusty eyes
steals my joy and deals in lies
plays with matches and gasoline
says: come on man, you can’t be clean.


You say:

Be still thou unregenerate part
Disturb no more my settled heart,
For I have vowed and so will do,
Thee as a foe still to pursue,
And combat with thee will and must
Until I see the laid in dust.

I say

Brother Jesu
Lend a hand
I got this ugly double-man
Hearing with my ears and talking out my tongue
How long Oh, Lord till he’s undone?


You say:

My crown, not diamonds, pearls or gold,
but such as angel’s heads enfold.
The city where I hope to dwell
There’s none on earth can parallel.


I say:

I want to dwell in that city
City of substance and form
I want to warm my skin in his eyes
And rise with the children of dawn.


You say:

Glory

I say:

Hallelujah