10/27/17

Coyote Calls us to the Things of This World

The howl of the coyote is America's original national anthem.   - Dan Flores


Coyote Call






Love Calls Us to the Things of This World

                           - Richard Wilbur

The eyes open to a cry of pulleys,
And spirited from sleep, the astounded soul   
Hangs for a moment bodiless and simple   
As false dawn.
                     Outside the open window   
The morning air is all awash with angels.

    Some are in bed-sheets, some are in blouses,   
Some are in smocks: but truly there they are.   
Now they are rising together in calm swells   
Of halcyon feeling, filling whatever they wear   
With the deep joy of their impersonal breathing;

    Now they are flying in place, conveying
The terrible speed of their omnipresence, moving   
And staying like white water; and now of a sudden   
They swoon down into so rapt a quiet
That nobody seems to be there.
                                             The soul shrinks

    From all that it is about to remember,
From the punctual rape of every blessèd day,
And cries,
               “Oh, let there be nothing on earth but laundry,   
Nothing but rosy hands in the rising steam
And clear dances done in the sight of heaven.”

    Yet, as the sun acknowledges
With a warm look the world’s hunks and colors,   
The soul descends once more in bitter love   
To accept the waking body, saying now
In a changed voice as the man yawns and rises,   
    “Bring them down from their ruddy gallows;
Let there be clean linen for the backs of thieves;   
Let lovers go fresh and sweet to be undone,   
And the heaviest nuns walk in a pure floating   
Of dark habits,
                      keeping their difficult balance.”

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Wilbur had a way of keeping all the balls in the air .... -- AE Stallings



Trismegistus

O Egypt, Egypt -- so the great lament
Of thrice-great Hermes went --
Nothing of thy religion shall remain
Save fables, which thy children shall disdain. 
His grieving eye foresaw
The world's bright fabric overthrown
Which married star to stone
And charged all things with awe.

And what, in that dismantled world, could be
More fabulous than he?
Had he existed? Was he but a name
Tacked on to forgeries which pressed the claim
Of every ancient quack 
That could from a smoky cell
By talisman or spell
Coerce the Zodiac?

Still, we summon him at midnight hour
To Milton's pensive tower,
And hear him tell again how, then and now,
Creation is a house of mirrors, how,
Each herb that sips the dew
Dazzles the eye with many small
Reflections of the All -- 
Which after all, is true.  

- Richard P Wilbur







(links from National Geographic, American Scholar, The New Yorker)