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In principio

Posté par Thomas McElwain, 14 avril 2015 · 1 996 visite(s)

acrostic Vulgata Vulgate acrostiche
 In princípio creávit Deus cælum et terram. ~ Genesis i,1
I do not seek the thunder Milton found,
Nor grace that Shakespeare set within his best
Plays in blank verse, nor even Wordsworth’s round
Revealed in common speech and to invest
In common heart-felt lays his Prelude’s ground.
No, my goal is a lower height and bound.
Come share with me a world of days’ delights
In words spilled out of aspen-perfumed nights.
Plush mossy carpets tend my woodland ways
In fairy-lands left by foresters’ gaze
On timber well-selected for the meet
Crush of the mill. My trees still stand on feet.
Ripe rowan berries at my window wait
Election of the waxwings’ dinner plate
And all the desert of my garden stands
Under a cloudy hope from other lands.
Indeed, the grassy poetry expands
To harvests of new irises bloomed late.
Does anything in nature care that I
Enjoy the breath I’m given on the sly?
Unless some angel scribe looks on with frown
Somewhere beyond my shoulder on the down,
Contentment only marks my pleasured path
Against a world oppressed and under wrath.
Each bears his load of greed and cruelty,
Lust for life and for hope’s eternity,
Unless the gospel’s true that preachers preach
Most fervently with dollars in their reach:
Each sin is brought to an atonement fair
To crucifixion of the unaware.
The body breathes atonement in the air,
Except the soul find better drawn to prayer.

Ring me rather a world beyond its pain,
Regaled in sun and shadow, and in rain
Among the fire-weed now just past its bloom.
Make me a nest if not an open room.

Terra autem erat inánis et vácua, et ténebræ erant super fáciem abýssi : et spíritus Dei ferebátur super aquas. ~ Genesis i,2


The earth is never barren to my soul.

Enough remains of sky and sand to roll

Rife life into the miniscule in rate

Rung from the heat to be the cool night’s mate.

Among the teeming things invisible

Attuned to desert and its living pull

Upon the spirit, rise the living songs

To right the world from all its deathly wrongs.

Each spirit of the playful breeze I know

Makes universes in an undertow

Evoked by stillness, as though change were slow

Revolving on a changeless painting’s glow.

Although the darkness may creep on my eye

To take away my gladness with a sigh,

I still find light beneath the tapered world

New wakened in my inner temple curled.

All earth through teeming emptiness unfurled

Neglects, no doubt, the void. Only the heart

I lift up to the heavens for my part

So secretly and tamely takes the void

Entire to keep anxiety employed.

The mark of bird and beast too has its fear

Vexed with a worried eye without a tear

Attached to cheek like stone. So faithless I

Come to abundance here beneath the sky

Unable to sink in the nothingness,

Attached to joy and wonder, I confess

Enough with Gautama: I stay to bless

The fire beneath the deep. I still caress

The breezes with a face unscarred and dress

Each moment with the love unbidden here.

No wealth of my creation shall appear

Eternal. Yet I cannot quite sustain

Belief in the wind and the slanting rain

Run on the face of waters as divine.

All may indeed be godly in the fine.

Each breath of wind the spirit to resign

Simply resolved in the Creator’s will.

Utmost attempts at faith retard me still.

Perhaps the spirit on the waves is God

Etched bright, but to my seeing just the sod

Remains to blossom exquisitely here.

Faith sees God’s spirit on the depths appear

And brood like careful fowl on watery nest.

Content with wind alone to do its best,

I find enough divinity to lie

Ensconced in tempests closing on the sky.

Maybe the frozen lake below the town

Ashtabula beheld a godlike frown

Beside December’s storms and awful ice

Yon far-off night when I first threw my dice.

Something about the air did catch my heart,

Some secret of my living stole a part

In the great successions of humankind.

Each midnight since that moment comes to find

The breath continues ranging on that deep

Stretched on my feeble frame mostly in sleep.

Pitted against the frost and inland sea

I think the helpless child that I must be

Rests with each breath in the divinity.

I shudder to think how a babe survives

The cyclones of divine breath on the lives

Unduly swept into the worldly course,

Sanctioned by trial of fittest in divorce

Demanded by birth into this lark world.

Each lives to become at last one impearled.

I lift the offering with a first cry flung

From holy spirit-battered tongue and lung

Encroached upon by circumcision’s knife,

Resolved to be a consecrated life.

Emerging from the tomb of womb I share

Both plaint and praise with people everywhere

Around the globe. The formless and the void,

The darkness of the deep, cast me untoyed

Under the spirit’s wail on wind and wave,

Raw, circumcised and quaint among the brave.

Search me, Beloved Creator, if You will

Under Your sky undrawn, and search me still

Perched on precarious breath to breath and find

Enough of doubt to save me from the blind

Regard that time and space impose on me

And from its bonds at last not set me free

Quite stark in vengeful groping on the shore

Until daybreak, but show me all the more

A vision of delight in transient plight

Sunk in the chains of being and of night.



Dixítque Deus : Fiat lux. Et facta est lux. ~ Genesis i,3


Determined to continue in the fight,

I gather music leaf and with a slight

Xylophonic voice enter in the fray.

I turn from the warm night to the first day

That taught the universe that light is made

Quietly, if by divine voice displayed.

Until this moment darkness sweet and warm

Enveloped me: but now I see the storm.

Do not suppose, Creator of what fates,

Enlargement of my visionary gates

Undoes the magic of obscurity.

Saints too love to pray in the midnight spree.

Far from the corridors of heavenly space,

I tend my tiny rays like minute face

Attached to fragile stem above the flood.

The chickweed, I see now, is in the bud.

Laugh at the world and sky, but it remains

Until the time of judgment’s final rains

X-rayed against the dark in lightning flash,

Eternal is no light, but made for cash.

The light’s a thing created by the word.

Flash it may well, because it has been stirred.

All things that human eye can see and tell

Come to the view by light and by light’s spell.

The only one who can see in the dark

Absolute is Creator of the park.

Exactly where I met the light at birth,

Some winter beam of hardly any worth,

The veil is lifted and the glories shine

Like moments fleeting on the loved divine,

Until I see the treasure not to touch:

X marks the spot. I should have known as much.



Et vidit Deus lucem quod esset bona : et divísit lucem a ténebris. ~ Genesis i,4


Each thing I see I judge in calm or fear,

Though judgment's only the Lord's to appear.

Vice is a thing no human overcomes

In life or death, it totals up men's sums.

Damnation of the other is men's creed.

I only am the best and fastest steed.

To separate the light from dark, the wrong

Deed from the right is not a human song,

Except one heed the divine word and strong.

Useless is the attempt to know the good

Secreted in the knowledge where God stood.

Light separated from the dark's no feat

Under the sun and moon in days complete.

Come good or ill, my knowledge defies will

Even to the brink of hell's turning mill.

My limited in knowing, it alone,

Quite defeats judgment writ in flesh or stone.

Unlimited in brain, I still should fail

Of judgment for my lack of love and sail.

Demand not of me to know wrong from right,

Eternal Judge of all things in Your sight.

Set on earth for the purpose, here I learn

Stern lessons from the seedpods that I earn.

Each judgment failed relieves the heart and soul

To dance on lightly towards a lighter goal

Beneath the stars, where God alone is judge

Of what men do and what women may fudge.

Now with heart free, I may bask in the light

Against the backdrop of ebony night,

Escaping the round of dividing right.

The lot and plot of humankind is still

Dug in the sand: the dibble-stick and mill.

I touch the rake, I touch the hoe and find

Vain thoughts and deeds succumb to the unsigned

Issue of empty words. All things combined

Send out an odor and subtle perfume

Into the air, the fire, the earthly room

To still the waters of the chambered soul.

Let me thus dance around the center pole

Until I drop upon the dergah floor

Contained in seven arches and a door.

Early and late, my Lord divides the light,

Makes the light day and makes the darkness night

Across the universe of hope and sight.

Cut off from all but that divinity,

The soul can only rise up and be free.

Eternally the separating springs

Now light, now dark, now in decorous strings

Eloping with the wilder strains of pipes.

Barred beauty, the light and the dark in stripes,

Regale the common. Slumbering or awake,

All things lie in the great Creator's take

Still clinging to the shovel and the rake.



Appellavítque lucem Diem, et ténebras Noctem : factúmque est véspere et mane, dies unus. ~ Genesis i,5


Against the dark December night the dawn

Peeked in my sleeping life as day came on.

Perched on the frozen shore of my existence,

Endangered by no more than my persistence,

Life slowly woke to that less feeble knowing

Leased by the fond Creator in bestowing

All infants with perception of divine.

Vain are all efforts to retrieve that sign.

I have no memory at all of what

The first day showed me and of what it taught.

Quite satisfied to be in the bleak air,

Umbilical cut and tied up with care,

Each breath I take's a new thrill to my soul

Lunging and thrashing toward the final goal.

Unconscious I may well have been that light

Came in the place of my first open night.

Egress into the world is shock enough.

My heart enlightened by abrasive rough

Desire to live was light enough to see

I'd sipped of the cup of eternity.

Eventual disdain for all of my

Mentors who guide me toward the gloried sky

Enters at last. But then my shriven heart

Tendered no qualm at all toward the part

That I and every soul are called to play.

Each one must meet somehow her own first day.

No greater proof than that reality

Enjoys the trump card by frozen Erie.

But I lived to read my philosophy

Reminding that the babe can barely see

And has no grasp of fate and scorn and woe,

Simply exists beneath the care and glow.

No truth at all lies in the heartless words

Of the philosophers caught up in curds.

Caught up in the first day the infant knows

The glories of the divine master shows

Emerging from the fresh soul's heavenly gift.

My life like every life is lived to lift

Face ever more blind to the throne above

And each day forget more of the first love.

Consciousness is a grand forgetting here

That tears down daily, tears down tier by tier

Untold imaginings of heavenly grace

Made dark and darker by this earthly place.

Quite unregarding stark reality,

Untaught philosophers go on a spree,

Each certain of the grand assumption here

Engaged in learning. So we calm our fear.

Such truth that wisdom's waning in our grasp

Takes the heart cold and drenches with a gasp.

Vain hope it is that knowledge will increase.

Each day I live more lights go out and cease.

So each one passes from the heavenly gate

Past mileposts of unlearning in the rate

Each day from that first day goes on to see.

Rare glimpses over shoulder caught quickly

Excite the heart and mind, then disappear

Entirely in the pool of faith and fear.

The proof is that to survive the first day

Must take unimagined powers of delay

And that no inkling stands in memory,

Not even a bright spark of gallantry.

Except the gross seducer paint a lie

Doomed to imagined hells caught in the sly,

I've nothing left of that first wisdom known

Entirely by each infant before grown.

Since all must be discarded on the way

Until the first turns into the last day,

Now I submit beneath the blade of doubt

Until I've lived my given memory out,

Simply seeing the sweet light others flout.



Dixit quoque Deus : Fiat firmaméntum in médio aquárum : et dívidat aquas ab aquis. ~ Genesis i,6


Distinctly, I see nothing up above.
I see no firm shield to hate or to love.

Xenon lies heavily beyond my sight.

I scan the sky in vain with all my might

To see the firmament, but nothing's there.

Quixotic flailing only finds cold air.

Under the upper waters there should be

Occulted firmament that all can see.

Doomed to my hopeful, aching quandary

Engaged in flat investigations wide

Upon kaleidoscopic science guide,

Soul sits in wonder. Skies still simply reach

For spaces almost infinite to screech.

In vision I may see the rosy glow

Across the beaten metal of the show

That firmament must mean. But at last I

Face after visions just an empty sky.

I range the atmosphere, no sheath of gas

Remains at all of creation's first pass.

My spaceship never bursts through splintered glass

Around the globe nor comes to any crash

Magnificently on the metal stash

Evoked by that grand word that St. Jerome

Noted upon the parchment of the dome

That opens all the sky to human eye.

Until I find that firmament, I lie

My face toward the upper atmosphere.

I dream that the invisibles appear.

Now I do so. But as a wiser child

Made in the image of the greater wild,

Eluding blind reality to climb

Down to the atmospheric word in dime,

I knew the crash against the firmament.

On every upward trip, my wings were bent

Across the barrier, that metal sheath

Quite closely wrought above my launching heath.

Until my childhood wisdom turned to dust

All scattered from the things I came to trust,

Returning from my foraging on air

Under the firmament, I found it there.

My way was blocked, my flight abruptly cut

Each time I rose against the windows shut.

Today illusion crops my tiring wings

Drawn to the siren calls the angel sings.

I can no more perceive reality,

Vague on the edge of visions that I see.

I rise in stuff so thin, unreal, and sheer,

Drenched in illusion's single, hopeless tear

Against the marvelous, that nothing stops

Trajectory through all creation's props.

As the soul moves more deeply through the crust

Quintessential of life, the mobile thrust

Uncovers ever more reason to doubt

A firmament above, below a clout.

Slowly the being sinks beneath the flood

And out of sight of firmament in bud,

But knows in flutters less than memory

About the thing above in flattery,

Quite hopeless, but enduring more than all

Until the coursing days upon the ball

Insist on coming to beginning's end,

Still finding in existence an old friend.



Et fecit Deus firmaméntum, divisítque aquas, quæ erant sub firmaménto, ab his, quæ erant super firmaméntum. Et factum est ita. ~ Genesis i,7


Elegance did not mark my first attempt

To learn to dive. It seems I'm not exempt

From folly. My own father lifted me

Entire and threw me in the watery

Cave of the swimming pool. I skinned my knees

In my attempts to make awful time freeze.

To divide water is a thing divine,

Divine first, only then human design.

Evidence by the trial of water still

Unfolds convincingly to human will.

Some may survive the dunking for a while,

Faith in humanity in every smile,

Indeed until the darkness overwhelm

Resplendent hopes peering out from the helm.

My trial by water, like my trial by fire,

Affirms no more than my human desire,

My hopeful quest for heaven in hell till I

Establish my eternity's reply.

No firmament can quell the spirit's rise

To meet the Savior in the gloried skies,

Unless the barrier open the eyes

More perfectly to the earthly surprise.

Damnation to the place of beauty means

I dwell ecstatic on its fairest scenes.

Vainly does angel call me up to share

Incitements after the celestial ware.

Such faithlessness in me would have produced,

I think, society always unused

To airplanes and rocket-ships on the air.

Quite happily I stick to the earth bare.

Under direction of my granddam I

Escaped school in the afternoon to spy

About her kitchen garden with a hoe,

Quakerly tending peppers in a row.

Until that time the only ones I'd seen

Around the gardens and shops were just green.

Some years would pass before I saw the red,

Quite some years more before on yellow fed.

Ukase of time: one cannot taste all foods

Armed with one soul despite manifold moods.

Earmarked by the green peppers in the ground

Efficiently placed there in grandma's round,

Romance remains for every other hue

And most of all for every purple cue.

None who've grown up with purple peppers find

The green ones suddenly thrust where they dined,

Such radiant green, but with romantic lift

Under the spell of such a magic gift.

Before I strike the waters with a rod

Faithful to Moses, or upon the sod

In emulation of Elijah I

Remember to take stock of where and why.

My colored reminiscences take flight

At unfamiliar hues within my sight.

My raving for the beautiful remains

Eulogy for the rare thing sought with pains.

None here, alas, sees that the common thing

That daily divides waters on the wing

Opposes surprise truly, but may be

A singular example of beauty.

Beauty divides the waters, although I

Have seen it day by day beneath the sky.

Intent on retribution for the time,

Some fail to hear the twinkling of the rhyme.

Quick to hear the faint sparkle and the sense

Under the flutter words in recompense,

A man or woman too may see anew

Exotica within the common view,

Elixirs in the waters separated

Right down to the awakenings elated.

As far as the lakeside extends in sight,

Not broken by peninsula or wight,

The waters are divided from the land

Set in the lights and shades of contraband

Ubiquitous birch trees behind the line

Perched solidly in common alders fine.

Expertly they too in their oily way

Refine a separation in their play.

From stone to stone the darkened oily glance

In alder oil divides waters to dance.

Revision of creation's duly noted,

Much reduced by the tiny things that voted.

A multiplying is creation's tool.

My multiplying just shows me a fool.

Each thing in nature's multiplied and more,

Noting by more dividing on the store

To fill the universe abundantly.

Unity's just found in divinity.

Man's life is just addition at the best,

Enunciation of a faith at rest.

The goal of every man is death in faith,

Faith in subtraction to become a wraith.

Abundance of creation is my joy

Cut short in multiplication's employ

To find that sweet green peppers seen at last

Ultimately are just as fine when classed

Modestly with the red and yellow kind.

Extinction itself would not change my mind.

So I let God divide and separate

The things He's made to put upon my plate

In peace between the waters up above

The firmament of everything I love.

A word remains for both the push and shove.



Vocavítque Deus firmaméntum, Cælum : et factum est véspere et mane, dies secúndus. ~ Genesis i,8


Vicieux peut-être, moi, je remarque le ciel

Ouvert, attirant, grand, au soir couleur de miel,

Courant vers le vertige autour de son étoile,

Autour d'une fine aile embrumée sans égale.

Vicieux peut-être, toi, tu appelles en foi

Inerte comme toi, et plébéiens et rois

Tout émus devant tout ce que tu en souhaites

Qu'ils apprennent en chœur de ton âme-trompette.

Un firmament, c'est tout. C'est bien d'avoir un tel

Et bien de l'appeler d'après l'universel,

De le trouver sans peine et autant que l'on veuille,

Et sur son canapé fouiller son portefeuille.

Un firmament, c'est bien. C'est tout à fait concret,

Si l'on lit avec soin, fer étendu, complet.

Firmament, je veux voir sa belle fioriture

Inquiète dans les cieux, un forçat en allure.

Retrouvé sans dommage en corps et en esprit,

Moi, entré en chômage après mon cher sursis,

Arraché par les poils, je me force de mettre

Ma main à la charrue en le néant et l'être.

En quoi suis-je entravé par un tel firmament?

N'ayant aucune main pour empêcher le gant,

Tu dois t'efforcer plus devant le beau mystère,

Un soldat créateur bien calé sur la terre.

Maman dit toujours vrai et vrai dit mon papa:

C'est sur la terre qu'il faut trouver son emploi.

Avant de monter haut vers le ciel en colline,

Equipe-toi d'une arme accueillante et mesquine.

Les condés savent trop pour en débarrasser:

Une arme menaçante et prête à défacer

Mon âme inexistante en face de l'emblème

En haut des cieux créés. J'expose le système.

Tantôt un rigolard, tantôt croyant aussi,

Fais-je autre que de voir mon Dieu? Je dis merci.

Aucune barrière et aucun grand mystère

Coupant peut m'empêcher de marcher sur la terre.

Tout regard de mes yeux, tout soupir dans mon nez

Utilise de l'air d'une foi transpercé.

Mon illusion doutant et pleine de riposte

Est faible sous le ciel devant les frais de poste.

Si je ne vois point là le firmament des cieux,

Tout ne se confond pas ici-bas dans ces lieux.

Visible ou invisible, en deuil ou bien en grâce,

Est-il inexistant pour ne pas être en place?

Si Marguerite voit des cieux en haut ou pas

Père janséniste ou le non-croyant combat,

Elle doit regarder en toute insouciance

Reconnue à travers le firmament en France.

Eh bien, mon brave et vieux, exhausse-moi bientôt.

Exhausse-moi bientôt de tout ce bon complot.

Tu sais combien je suis parmi les ordinaires

Manquant de politesse et de ton débonnaire.

Aussitôt que je brise enfin ton firmament,

N'est-ce pas liberté de monter confident

En tous cieux élégants et dans tous les mystères

De la vie et la mort en allures précaires?

Inclut en foi profane et dans l'esprit du temps,

Est-ce que je suis moins accepté dans ton camp?

Si Marguerite voit à travers barrières

Séparant les hauts cieux de ces plus basses terres,

Et si elle aussi peut briser les fers usés,

C'est pour moi qu'il suffit de faire rondelet.

Utile que je sois comme homme usurpatoire,

Nul n'accompagne là pour m'arracher la gloire.

Dieu garde bien mes pas parmi l'effondrement,

Uni avec la loi perdue du firmament,

S'il veut ou non, je prie, je prie pécheur fervent.



Dixit vero Deus : Congregéntur aquæ, quæ sub cælo sunt, in locum unum : et appáreat árida. Et factum est ita. ~ Genesis i,9


Did any man or woman ever see

In times past or in all eternity

Xanthic rises coming up with new grace

Into the sunlight to provide a space

The primordial ocean had not formed?

Vainly I seek a human eye unstormed,

Exact and focused on such a grand lake.

Rolls and swells those unbroken measures take

Out on the boundless globe baffle the mind

Determined to resolve the redesigned.

Each time I note the gentle, woeful rise

Upsurging like a frozen mask's surprise,

Substantial in the fog of the extant,

Comes to my mind an ancient sort of rant.

Out of the deep did rise the world I know.

No continent beneath my feet can show

Grip on its height. Though its movement is slow,

Right upward is the thrust. But that's because

Ensconced beneath the earth's most northern claws

Gentle ice ages dawning have pressed down

Each hillock and each lake about my town.

Now that the ice is gone, or just about,

That earth is rising from the cold redoubt

Until a day when rising shall be done

Round at the top or then under the sun

A new ice age returns to mark and stun.

Quite in tune with each other the fine pair

Under conflict about the earthly share,

An evolutionist set out to know,

Each creationist hoping more to show,

Quickly agree that in some distant past,

Upon a day at least (though not to last),

A world existed where the water stayed

Ensconced upon a globe decked in parade

So that no land appeared above the foam

Until the land mass reared and found a home.

Bother the hopeful human mind that will

Come to conclusions to settle the bill

About the origins of earth and sky.

Each one has an opinion to swear by.

Love of my soul is in the here and now,

Outspanning wonder of the when and how

Some centuries of centuries ago.

Unless the word speaks to me on the go,

No interest holds attention in my eye.

The future and the past I fail to spy.

I care not for the theories that come late

Noting the origins commensurate,

Logging on to apocalyptic store

Of fears and doubts about the heavenly shore.

Content am I that Genesis should teach

Upon a shoreless or a shoreful beach

Me to love waves and billows as they break

Upon the new and golden sands I stake.

Number my days, it may be one or two

Until the gentle earth comes into view,

Much loved and lingered on with spade and stick,

Emerging in my living thin and thick.

To me the earth is born as I awake

Aghast at glory of the morning lake

Partaking of the granite marge and leaf

Precipitating from the bough in grief.

All mornings are the third morning I find

Remember in the earth and sea designed

Each day for pleasure while I still have breath,

An opportunity once before death

To praise again the universe and him

About to make a wider shore and rim.

Remembering my first glance at the sea

I find a gray sky arching over me

Down on the Gulf of Mexico beside

A green boat, painted wood, in which we ride

From oyster bar to oyster bar to catch

A fish or two and keep them in the hatch.

Considering my age of three at most,

Too small to hold a line, I trust in host

Utmost. I'd rather than catch fish

Mark out the alligators with a wish

Quite childish in its wonder, where they sleep

Under the spiteful sun, although clouds creep

Elongating horizons of the deep.

Examining that distant, cloudy day,

Sunk in the memory of green and gray

To wake up in the now of ground and lake,

I wonder at the ways of time I take.

The scientist and the believer stay

Among the reeds. I seek a lesser pay.



Et vocávit Deus áridam Terram, congregationésque aquárum appellávit Mária. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum. ~ Genesis i,10


Each piece of land and sea retains

Today a proper name for all the gains

Vauchsafed to humankind and to the earth

Outspread around the globe for tears and mirth.

Caught on the string of all the primitive

Arrangements of the basket and the sieve,

Visible in the two great categories

In earth and sea: here begin all the stories.

The lands I know by name: Ohio and

Determined mountain region in the stand

East by southeast, then Tennessee

Under a summer vision I still see.

Sometime in northern Florida I stray

Around azalea bushes and the gay

Red blushing of camellias set out fair

In almost treelike stature never bare.

Departing from the subject, though, then I

Am constrained to remember under sky

My first-known water bodies if we leave

The rivers for another day's reprieve,

Erupt in no grand fair or in parade

Riding in file, but are one single laid,

Rich Gulf of Mexico, the big bend shore.

After twelve years had run, I learned to know

Many states on the way into the glow

California inspired. I was near grown

On seeing northern tier to come back east,

Not knowing that the gentle traveling loan

Granted my only sight of those lands' feast.

Right now seems desecration I should give

Enough of English names to lands that live

Gauntly in native memory of claims.

At least I should repeat the ancient names

That ancient peoples called these inland shores.

I should not quietly succumb to bores.

Only I know them not. The native tongue

Nearly forgot I revived then still young,

Etched on the memory of last and lasting

Sight of my great granddam her slow voice casting

Quietly native words. They said she went

Under the moon to dig a garden bent,

Establishing her independence from

All those who said she was too old in sum.

Quixotic too, I guess in what she called the earth

Under her feet, she had to plant its girth

And live to reap its harvest, then her last

Run out at ninety-eight beneath the blast

Ungifted by the rough weather the west

Much magnifies. She smiled at the news blessed

Against the backdrop of the mountains that

Puerto Rico, as destination sat

Pronounced within another sea and named,

Extending my seas' knowledge unashamed.

Lounging in those fair winds for just a year,

Longing for further ranges for a tear,

All the world beckoned me, and so I went

Vaunting upon the North Sea to prevent

Itineraries to the southern reaches,

The Mediterranean waves and beaches.

Maybe after a lifetime in the Arctic

Arctic Ocean ought to be more infarctic.

Reality is that I've never seen it.

Instead in my old age I come to keen it

And bathe in Indian Ocean by surprise

Escaped alive from under northern skies.

Those are the seas I know and continents,

Varied and various. If time relents

I may become acquainted with them all

Drawn out upon the God-created ball.

I may obey the counsel of Qur'an

To travel and see the miracles of dawn

Drawn on the canvasses of scattered wastes,

Etched on the earthy maps that my ship pastes

Under the lulling clouds and dulling fires

Sun makes at evening. Still I separate

Quintessence like divine of ocean rate

Untied by beaches beautified by land

Outstanding where the line is glorified,

Described by dashing breakers come to ride.

Each time I tread the margin of my lakes

So calm and fearless under sky that takes

Slow inventory of the miles of birch,

Eternal fir and pine, I come to perch

Towards the evening in complaisant sleep.

Between the stone and water I can keep

On holding my divinity hands clasped,

Nothing lost of humanity I grasped

Until the sea covers the land again,

Mountains sunk in the drowning deep of rain.



Et ait : Gérminet terra herbam viréntem, et faciéntem semen, et lignum pomíferum fáciens fructum juxta genus suum, cujus semen in semetípso sit super terram. Et factum est ita. ~ Genesis i,11


Each time I see a marigold along

The walk or under sunny garden song,

All proud and gracious for color and wit,

I mind me of a time, when I unfit,

Two years old at the most, ate to my fill,

Got sick of diarrhea. I mind still.

Eve in the garden was not more disgraced

Right down to her toes as her husband paced.

My nemesis turned Eden full of joy

Into the failure of one little boy.

Now to this day, the taste of marigold

Evinces in me itching best untold.

The populace of herbal remedy

That stalks the new age to its last degree

Exults perhaps in all the cures abounding,

Rebounding in the marigold's deep sounding.

Ring out the bells or not, impose a fast

And prescribe marigold both first and last.

Here I'm left cold. I love the marigold

Entrenched in flower beds. I am not sold

Remedial doses. Others keep their share,

But I'll admire at distance and beware.

As happens, that was Philippi, a town

Most know for covered bridge, one of renown,

Various institutions, Baptist school

Intent on looking down river and pool.

Remarkable for taste, the sassafras

Enjoyed my favor as it came to pass

Not many years later when I was in

Tallahassee and for my father's sin.

Entreated to join labor union's mill,

My father followed E. G. White to fill

Eternal decrees of that prophetess

To make us leave West Virginian address.

Far from impeding me, the traveling bug

Amazed me so I gave new trees a hug,

Courted the southern forests with a will.

I found palmetto growing sweetly still,

Encouraged by the climate without chill.

Nothing prevented tasting every bud

To see what grand effects came up from mud.

Each new leaf and each berry held its own

Medicinal requirements there to loan.

Soon my own mother had taught me as much

Exemplary herbology and such.

Making new brews was something we enjoyed,

Enjoyed together sipping the employed.

Night after night my father came back home

Entirely worn out with his work to roam

To kitchen to see what new herb remained,

Lighting the supper in three cups retained.

I mind I saw all three soft plastic cups

Gleaming on the shelf like three jumping tups,

Not waiting any longer for the feel

Upon their bellies of some herbal weal.

My mother's house still held them till her death,

Peopled with spider or some lesser breath

Of beast or dust. But those who came to clean

My mother's leavings thought them junk too mean

In matter or in color to preserve

For heirs to come and claim them in their verve.

Enough my mother knew to gather weed

Run riot on the roadside and in seed

Up to the brim. She could not plant and plough,

My mother lacked that talent's gift somehow.

For me it was reserved gardens to make

Across the back yard and to claim my stake.

Carrots I planted from the carrot tops

I found thrown out from cuttings and the flops

Each stub was decorated with in green.

Nobody saw me set them in the sheen

Sand spread out by the steps. My auntie thought

For sure I had grown carrots as I ought.

Riot of vegetation fitted bill

Until I finally learned to plant and fill

Coffee cans with petunias and to set

The avocado grown up in the wet,

Unless we called them alligator pears.

My avocado tree divided shares

I found between our house and Mrs Yawns'

Until we moved away to seek new dawns.

Xerxes himself could not have found a way

To grow an avocado tree that day

Along the frost line drawing close to meet

Georgia where peach and pecan are the treat.

Each boy and girl that lived there on my street

Noticed the herbal wonders round our feet,

Under the porches, in the wooded lot,

Strung out in grasses burnt yearly in plot.

Some noticed and as soon they too forgot.

Uncles and aunts came and went without thought.

Ungrounded in the science, I still spent

My days in tasting what grew where I went,

Et pósuit eas in firmaménto cæli, ut lucérent super terram, ~ Genesis i,17


Eh bien! Ce que je dis: les lampes dans le ciel

Touchent toujours la terre avec couleurs de miel.

Posée de jour en jour, je vois la grande lampe

Offerte en le soleil à la pie qui se trempe

Ses ailes dans un air tout rempli de couleur.

Un cri ornithographe a fracassé le chœur

Insolite d’oiseaux. Je reste en mes délices,

Tandis que la lumière étendue en supplice

Entière de la lune éveille en moi le son

Appris et opportun en tout ce qui sent bon.

Sauf nuit et jour je n’ai ni temps ni même espace

Indiqués pour me voir effacé dans la glace.

Ne vous en vengez pas sur les voleurs de nuit

Faisant eux, à leur tour, en mesure qui suit,

Intrigue journalière en dépit de prière.

Regardez tous les deux: les oiseaux de lumière

Montant de peu à peu, et papillons de nuit

Aussi, eux, existant. Regardez ce qui suit.

Mentionnez les dieux : les oiseaux funéraires

Entrant de mieux en mieux. Ce n’est pas de mystère.

N’ayez pas peur des dieux, qui ne cherchent que feu

Tout au tour du ciel bleu, la nuit jusques aux creux

Ouverts où s’entrevoit lueur d’une bougie.

Content d’avoir un but, ces dieux perdront la vie.

Après le tour des cieux remplis de beaux soleils,

Emplis d’étoiles ou de lunes sans pareil.

L’arc-en-ciel où je suis debout sous l’espérance

Ignore le doré et scintille en silence.

Un oiseau seulement brise avec une voix

Toute la gourmandise enregistrée en moi.

La gourmandise au ciel se fait beaucoup plus grande.

Une galaxie fait au restaurant commandes

Copieuses pour moi. Une fois dans un an

Égarés du chemin, et dans un restaurant,

Radis dans la salade écoutent notre rire

En train de décider entre ce qu’on peut dire

Notre «mille îles» et ce que je bien voudrais

Toujours en vinaigrette, en un terrain français.

Si je voulais toujours vinaigrette française,

Ukase en absolu à chacun à son aise,

Parce qu’il n’y avait à cette époque-là

Entre les choix que deux. C’était dans le contrat.

Regardant au soleil, haussant vers les nuages

Tous mes espoirs pour terre et mer et pour les plages,

Et pour la vie sans choix, je ne m’en doute pas.

Réglé ou pas, je vois que les jours de combats

Retiennent dans la nuit des bijoux pour les gars.

À mon avis le ciel, quoique tout plein d’étoiles,

Monte avec son secret et me laisse entre voiles.



Et præéssent diéi ac nocti, et divíderent lucem ac ténebras. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum. ~ Genesis i,18


Each day is well divided dark and light

To show the willing day from fragrant night.

Perhaps the separation in the full

Revolving of the light and dark to pull

Around the world the suns and moons to go

Emerges from the earthly-heavenly show.

Exquisite is the night, and bright the day,

So I know where I’m going, count my pay.

Some days are bright with justice, though a few

Entice with pretense of a more just crew.

No days are without knowledge of the right

To do and of the wrong before the fight.

Done with the speculation, since the tree

I ate from in the garden in a spree

Claims to give knowledge of the right and wrong.

I sing aloud my fatal, flowing song.

A woman and a tree in which there sat

Comfortably a serpent on a mat

Nobody cares to watch in these brave days,

Only the fundamentalist in craze.

Content I sit to contemplate that snake

That tempted Eve though Adam was awake.

In light and dark, the pair then learned to know

Enough about the good and evil show.

That knowledge keeps us going to this day,

Day filled with knowledge of the dark in pay,

In vengeance on the right, in hopes to sway,

Vengeance is just the fruit gone bad that taught

Indeed to know when wickedness is wrought.

Does no one else long for that paradise

Except myself, my good self, for the nice

Refusal to know good from bad and dark

Engaged against the light in the first park?

No one wants to relinquish the brave cant

To know the good and evil on the slant,

Left with immortal eating of the tree

Under which none can die, though still not free?

Could I but not perceive the wrong at all

Enunciated in the royal hall

Made opulent by its ill-gotten gain

Among the oppressed of a world in pain,

Could I but not perceive the good and gloat

That I have since achieved a beam and mote

Engendered by the knowledge gained in past

Not once refraining from forbid repast,

Encouraged to the judgment at foremast,

Better things had befallen me in peace.

Refusals of forbidden fruit release

All hearts of hailing justice to increase.

Sometime in vast eternity my soul

Entrenched in leaf of life without a goal,

The power of justice will not touch my mind

Vouchsafed to live forever with the blind.

I spit the fruit of that desire away,

Desire to know for myself the good way

I should be walking and I turn me back

To tree of life where I let God not slack

Determine right and wrong instead of me.

Enough of my pretense to judge the free.

Unless God stands on Sinai with a whip

Shouting His promises commanding quip,

Quite ready to reveal the wrong and right,

Until then, keep me God from seeing light

Of my own self, instead looking to You

Determining the light and dark in view.

Each person that I know has eaten that

Single grape from forbidden tree and sat

Single in judgment on all other men.

Each one imagines justice in his wen.

Then I shall be exception to the rule

Bounced off the souls of men of every school.

Once I am free of that sweet fruit and sour,

No one can part me from life in an hour,

Unless I do relinquish the fair twelve

My fruit-filled hands in life have come to delve.



Et factum est véspere et mane, dies quartus. ~ Genesis i,19


Éventuellement, le quatrième jour

Touche à sa fin, et moi, aussi et à mon tour,

Fais semblant de rêver d’étoiles et des lunes

Autour de ma maison céleste et opportune.

Comme les hommes fins habitant ce terrain,

Toujours en train de voir la ville sans chagrin,

Un gros chat bleu écoute à toutes ses oreilles

Mon mince madrigal. Enfin, au moins la veille,

Elle ou lui, il n’avait d’oreilles que les deux.

Sans la troisième oreille on n’entend que très peu.

Tant que j’écoute, moi, les chansons des étoiles

Vantées le soir, la nuit, je n’entends que des toiles

En tous lieux du village où j’en étends le son.

Sons des étoiles chics et gratuits comme un don.

Pendant la symphonie et après mon bouchage,

Entre explication du chat et de sa cage.

Regardez dans le bois et cherchez-le partout,

Efforcez-vous de voir comme pour un caillou,

Et votre oreille de chat, la nuit du quatrième,

Tous les chants entendra, votre oreille troisième.

Ma mère me le dit, mon père avère aussi :

Autour du ciel en haut nuages sont remplis

Non seulement de chants mais aussi de trompettes

Et violons encore et des orgues honnêtes.

Devant ce grand mystère et après mon combat,

Intrigué par les chants que je n’aperçois pas,

En étourdissement, je me lève et j’espère

Ses voix qu’un chat entend chaque nuit sur la terre.

Quelle joie d’entendre et quel joli souvenir !

Une oreille pour tout ce qui peut en partir !

Alors, je me remets à la veille en modèle,

Retourné de mon doute en repentir fidèle.

Toute la cathédrale enchantée dans la nuit

Unit avec le chat qui cherche autour de lui

Ses souvenirs du ciel sur la terre rebelle.



Dixit étiam Deus prodúcant aquae réptile ánimae vivéntis et volátile super terram sub firmaménto caeli. ~ Genesis i,20


Down through the waters of the foaming seas,

Into the air above as first trapeze,

Xenacanthus swam and the robin flew.

I cannot say the former in my view

Takes time to stop and greet me where I sit

Entirely of another age and fit.

The birds that I remember in my way

I think are also fine for feathers gay.

Among the blue jays and the thrashers that

Made colorful my hours and days not flat

Does not the cardinal in its red hat

Evince epitome of where life’s at?

Under the hill where I live now I see

Some larger birds like that only rarely.

Perhaps the one exception is the squawk

Rendered by starling-like fowl on the block.

On days like this, I mind the ocean view

Done up in fish and bird under the blue,

Under the canopy of cloud and sun,

Contrived today of memory undone.

At first the Gulf of Mexico was green,

Not blue or gray at all with shiny sheen.

That was in times far past. But I mind best

Among my memories Pacific’s zest,

Quite gray on most days where I found the beach

Untied by the wild ice-plant in my reach.

Among the sanderlings and whales washed up,

Enticed by what unknown sirens and cup,

Right tempted me to taste the salty fruit

Erupting from the ice-plant and its root,

Purple in sheen and sweet to tongue for loot.

The yellow-flowered kind’s no taste at all.

I find the purple blossomed one a ball.

Long at the tooth, the yellow one’s preferred

Each time they come to plant them on the shard.

Arrived on seas unsalted yet by time

No doubt I have left marks upon my rhyme.

I have observed the robin, both the kind

Made famous by the land I’ve left behind

And by the European redbreast here.

Each one I see at this age brings a tear.

Vine- and tree-clad where I abide today

I hardly ever see the ocean’s spray.

Vain sighting from the top of the near hill

Each time I go there does not fit the bill.

Nowhere in all the sixty miles I see

The ocean rises up, though islands be

In hundreds spread before my feet in grace.

So I can kiss the fishes of that trace

Especially good-bye. The ones nearby,

The lake whitefish I know by taste and fly.

Vouched for at first by several feet of ice

On every road made on the lake in trice,

Long over frozen flats the hawk may soar

Attracted not by fish, but from the shore

The mammals that dare to come out and play

In unaccustomed plains of white and stay

Looking not to the sky and danger there.

Enough times I have seen them, though it’s rare.

Such views grew fewer as the years go by

Until someday I’ll only stay and sigh

Propped up by pillows to remember what

Events in times past still cheer one that’s shut

Retired from outside songs, condemned to hear

The melodies of life on inner ear.

Each one sees what he can of beauty where

Rage waves and clouds, each has his little share.

Run of the fish and fowl, the glimpse and song

And silver flash of wing and fin not long

Must be the sum and token. Soon the gong

Sounds on the party and we all get up,

Up from the play and go inside to sup.

Before the throne of grace and judgment grand

Flashed on the sanderling and on the sand,

I stride with purpose no greater than to

Ride the sand dunes to where I have in view

My private forest of driftwood piled high

Across the changing beaches under sky.

My memory walks now where in those days

Each summer woke in fog or at least haze.

Now haze may cover all, but accurate

That vision is by any time and rate.

Of all the skies and seas and lakes I know

Caught on the planet to make up the show

Are none so lovely as the tapestry

Etched on the pages of my memory.

Launched out in spaces brighter than the air

I find myself unlost beneath God’s care.



Creavítque Deus cete grándia et omnem ánimam vivéntem atque motábilem quam prodúxerant aquae in spécies suas et omne volátile secúndum genus suum et vidit Deus quod esset bonum ~ Genesis i,21


Cause and effect seem to suffice to men

Remembering their origins in den

Exhumed from archaeology as well

As all the geological in spell.

Vast is the time and space that shows the way

I clamber over quaint beliefs to stay.

The ripeness of the mind’s nothing more than

Quickness to find the same reply of man.

Up in the sky or in the earth beneath,

Earth trodden down with many a tomb’s wreath,

Dead concepts come to life, because the bill

Emerges time and time again to fill.

Until my nonage my instruction kept

Some concepts as reported and adept

Come from creationists who wrote at will

Eternally in the church paper’s spill.

The schools I went to did not teach the facts

Evolution has stumbled on in acts

Galapagosian and afterward in

Rotunda of the academic sin.

All the fuss started to bore me when I

Noticed the biases under the sky.

Distraction from the duties that impose

I think is the great motive that arose

And took the churchman and the scientist

Entrusted with the myths and nightly tryst.

The books of Marsh had been my daily fare

Of science in my adolescent share.

My brisk humanities increased with age,

Nice additions to my teen-aging wage.

Enlarging on the origins of earth,

Most people seem to get stuck in the berth

Arguing pros and cons until they’re sure

Not only of the what and why in pure,

Instead of ethics, but also the when.

My point is justice is known to all men,

Applied to oneself, but it takes some cheek

Marking out time from week to lovely week

Voiced from the pulpit of both church and heart

I think before most people see the part.

Vice is too common. It is simply based

Enormously upon the useless waste.

No justice for myself, unless the one

That lives next to me also has it done.

Each fails of last contentment for the way

Made plain for one pair of feet under sway

Again does not apply to each and all.

The thing that’s right for me against the wall

Quite simply’s right for all who breath and live.

Until the application’s made to give

Each one his due, the argument is vain

Made for creation or evolving’s pain.

Out of the house and through alfalfa field

That grew for pleasures that its gophers yield

Around the edges for my running dog,

Boasts call me to run after in the fog.

I find the eucalyptus grove as well

Laughing beneath the Californian spell

Enticing to a twelve year old and beast

Much loved for ears and tail and bark at least.

Quick on the broken earth we find our path

Under the stripping bark and leafy swath

Arrayed in undulant perfumes and strong.

Making such trees grow quickly in the long

Performances of summers without sun,

Romance of evolution is undone.

Of all the trees I’ve seen grow up these ones

Do seem to be more swift in growing tons

Under their knees in bark and bat and cone.

Xochiquetzal, enthroned by night alone,

Esteemed the perfumes of the blessed night

Restoring after abduction for spite.

All things return in love and in perfume

No doubt, and yet that far-off coastal broom

Took no sweet odors from that growing tree.

All that the goddess knew among the free

Quite parted from the eucalyptus grove

Under the loves of night where sorrows rove.

Among the goddesses that love fair trees,

Ensconced in mythic miasmas in their ease,

I leave Xochiquetzal to find her grave,

Not knowing of such imports and their stave.

Soughing then softly through the underbrush,

Perched on the dandelion’s feathered tush,

Each footstep much imagined on the crush

Complaintless of the miner’s lettuce where

I seek the ancient native goddess fair,

Each time she reappears on solstice or

Spring equinox upon the forest floor,

Some ray of light through the long leaves affrights.

Unless resurrection of awful wights

Across the centuries enter to play,

Such goddesses have passed from earth away.

Epics through wondered ages teach the spell

To the suspicious superstitious well.

Of all the myths, I think I’ll never find

Much greater in amazing colors twined.

None have the pathos of that native lay,

Enough to keep a priest busy all day.

Vetch and the purple ice-plant silently

Open their blossoms to a godless spree.

Launched on the dirt cliffs cypresses blow free

Among the moving figures seen afar.

Those days and nights lay sweet beneath a star.

I learned to speak in beauty and alone,

Long waiting by the seaside without stone.

Empty of glory and empty of room,

Such little blossoms never failed to bloom.

Effective from the start of the great story,

Creation first taught oneness, God of glory,

Until the heaven and earth appear in pairs,

Nothing was dualistic unawares.

Down through the third day of the tale, I find,

Under the surface of the word unmined,

Myopic sights of pairs, duals designed.

Ground paired with sea at least departed from

Eternal oneness and the two in sum,

Not without pain perhaps, but in a rush,

Unable to be counted in the hush

Strident with leaf and fruit and seed and cone

Stretched on the granite earth instead of bone.

Untouched by human hand, abundantly

Untroubled by the great primordial sea,

My first world of plants crushes out the hope

Eclipsed by multiplicities in scope.

The passage from dualities of sky

Vaulted above the earth to wonder why,

Identified in deep and surface wind,

Denied not by the light and dark unbinned,

I follow with delight the very thing,

The growing of the green faster than wing.

Done with the gods that mind prepares in love,

Entered at last in endless forest glove

Under a single sky, I multiply.

Such is the issue of life when it’s found

Quite unexpectedly upon the ground.

Untied from cosmic dual rate I stand

Outside philosophies of contraband,

Delighted with profusion beyond land.

Elliptical or flat, the world appeared

Stupendously abundant and well-geared,

Shut from the sky by forest and by leaf

Eternally empowered from beyond grief.

Today as on the third day I come out

Beside the well and by the waterspout,

Out-run by vine and by the springing sprout,

No two jonquils alike, despite their way

Under the pale spring sky in roundelay.

Now let me rest from the weed of my gout!



Benedixítque eis dicens créscite et multiplicámini et repléte aquas maris avésque multiplicéntur super terram. ~ Genesis i,22.


Before the goddess Xochiquetzal came

Especially to distract me from the game,

Nothing could turn my eyes from that acclaim

Engendered by the whale washed on our beach.

Dangers lurk in the waters out of reach.

I dared to touch the dead leviathan

Xochiquetsal forgot to show by plan.

I thought my foot made the mass jiggle so

That the sky reeled above the sorrow’s glow,

Quite undone by the mass of life that stirred

Under the beast, if beast is the right word,

Eternally snuffed out, unless the hope

Escaping death by resurrection’s scope

Includes the whale. I beg your pardon now,

Since I did not relate the tale somehow

Directly in the verse that came before.

I was distracted by kelp from the gore.

Can any goddess love such blood on shore?

Eagles and partridges may have their day.

None are so glorious in their ocean’s spray.

Still whales must meet the judgement in their pay,

Caught in the coils of cumbersome relief

Robbed of the right to life and to belief.

Each one must die, and that law does include

Staunch whales with or without their gratitude.

Called to the shore, the whole school came to see,

I’m sure they did, and wondered in their glee

To see the body snatched up from the deep,

Eagerly all would watch, but few would weep.

Entwined in the mores of that time and place,

Taught by hard-heartedness of youth and grace,

My soul felt but a single twinge of what

Upon reflection my heart stays tight shut.

Love of the whale was not yet so wide-spread

That day as this. Humanity is led

In paths of squeamish happiness to find

Paths of ecology among well-dined.

Laugh if you will at those young lads in turn

I came with to see the body some spurn,

Came to look on in curious regard

And interest of our youth in what is hard.

Much has been published about the great whales

In all the seas of earth and what prevails.

Nothing escapes the notice of great men

In scientific and aquatic yen.

Entire groups on the shore protect the whale

Today from those who love again to sail.

Remembering the whale dead on the sand,

Emerging from the gray waves of the strand

Plucked at by sea-gulls and the whitish fly,

Linked to that snuffed out life and movement, I

Escape no desperation of mankind.

The massiveness of what is now one blind

Exudes a weight of sorrow beyond all,

All that my tiny soul can feel so small.

Quick to the contemplation of raw death

Under the gray clouds and the sea’s gray breath,

Among the scholar lads, not one turns back.

Savor of death a moment cuts the track,

Making a rut of ruin in the sense.

At last, after a moment quiet, tense,

Remain only the memories of the scene.

I too turn from the glistening gray-green.

Such is the moment. But from day to day,

All of the lads return to see the way

Vain flesh beneath the sky comes to decay.

Each bit of whitish waste, each rag of bone

Squandered on sighing of the sand alone

Quits at the last, sinks down into the naught,

Under the weight of things unknown, not caught.

Each day sees less of mass and less of aught.

Meagre the lumpish rests stay till a storm

Upheaves the whole and with a quivering warm

Lifts all that’s left of global dreams into

The floes that tender things away from view.

I stand on barren sand at last one day

Past recognition of the whale in prey.

Long I regard the empty bed and coast.

I search the dunes for any sort of boast

Called by the whale. In vain I scan the shore.

Evening comes to chase me back to my door.

Nothing remains of whale, or bone, or flesh.

The mammoth creature has given way to fresh

Upholstered dunes and soughing sand and sky.

Red, yellow, purpled bleeding clouds go by

Short-shrifted of their hopes. None stays to see

Upon the beach the rushing lines in fee

Put there by tide retreating from the bank.

Enough of my remembering of lank,

Rubbed blubber stinking on an ancient beach

That’s disappeared behind the years in reach.

Emerging from creation for a time

Raging or singing on the glacial clime,

Rough blowing, all things living come to end.

A memory intangible, a friend

Made of a few decades cannot amend.


Et factum est véspere et mane dies quintus ~ Genesis i,23


Étant le jour des jours, création plus belle,

Toutes ses heures mieux que rien d’autre révèlent

Fortune de baleine et celle aussi d’oiseau

Ainsi qu’aussi de pèche enchantée par les flots.

C’est le grand jour pour ceux qui en loisirs demandent

Tout aperçu des mers et des baleines grandes.

Un soupir et le son d’un grondement perdu

Me séduisent du don coupable et farfelu

Entre la plage ouverte et les vagues soudaines

Se traînant en vertige autour de ses baleines.

Trempé par le brouillard et sans un mot d’espoir,

Va-t-en, crasseux vieillard, sauve-toi dans le noir

Étendu par la nuit, le confort de tes frères.

Soupçonne, si tu veux, les nuits de toutes terres

Parsemées des oiseaux endormis et contents.

Entre les poissons et les oiseaux d’ornements,

Regarde-moi ici et dit la différence

Entre celui qui nage aux flots en permanence

Et celui en plumage aux banquets dans les cieux.

Toute la chair qui vient de la mer au saint lieu

Me semble savoureuse et au-dessus du blâme.

Alors, je viens aussi tout simplement une âme

Noyée par une faim de poisson et d’oiseau,

Endormi en chaleur qui remplit le réseau,

Désormais, je ne mange aucune ailette frite

Installée sur mon plat, ni aucune aile ensuite.

Et surtout la baleine avec son grand cerveau,

Silencieuse et morte en dessous d’un marteau,

Qui sépare du vent d’une plage orageuse,

Unit capacités angéliques, soigneuses.

Instants d’une clarté et puis l’obscurité

Ne me laisse jamais. Je sais, pourtant, je sais.

Tandis que tout le monde égare en la cachette,

Une baleine sait où elle met sa guette.

Sauve-moi, univers, de cette pauvreté.



Dixit quoque Deus prodúcat terra ánimam vivéntem in génere suo iuménta et reptília et béstias terrae secúndum spécies suas factúmque est ita. ~ Genesis i,24


Done with the birds and fishes then at last

I turn my eyes to creation’s next blast.

Xiong Fuxi might have found dramatic lurch

In the plan to go beyond swimming perch

To make an animal that crawls on earth

Quite satisfied with land and a dry berth.

Until God tells me otherwise, I find

Only the cattle and the mammals kind

Quit of the reputation of the blind

Ungrateful to be so included in

Emerging vertebrates as closer kin.

Do not look on my prayer and think that I

Excuse myself by evolution’s cry

Under the failure to rise up in state

Sometimes angelic for another fate.

Pump and irksomestance have a role to play.

Righteousness is a divine grace in sway.

Of all my days I bear too some regrets

Until the resurrection hedges bets.

Come out of her, my people, was not spoken

Across creation’s sixth day for a token.

The dawn awakes and I rise up to see

The simian created within me.

Each day brings on creation once renewed.

Remember, if you must, the species feud

Rubbed into some existence Darwin rued.

All things work for the good, perhaps indeed,

Although the fittest are a cruel breed.

None of my dear ancestry hears the call

I raise upon the shattered crystal ball.

My view of whales is that the four-lobed brain

Amounts to a superior in gain.

Much has been said of rationality

Vainly sought in the human sort of spree.

I think the whales are far above my race.

Vice and virtue among them’s hard to trace,

Except I find no greater warfare done.

Never do thousands die beneath their gun.

That’s not to say the whole class is to be

Examples of the pacifist’s degree.

Much wickedness in whales could well be found

If they were better exposed on the ground.

Now I think that creation story shows

Great ethnocentric visions in its rows.

Each animal expects a bit of praise.

None of them are unfeeling in their ways.

Entirely ignorant of others’ grace,

Robbed of the knowledge of their regal place,

Each species has its specialty of race.

Some see well, others hear the faintest sound

Upon the meadow and the reedy ground.

Others are armed with senses hardly known.

I have respect for all of them home grown.

Unguessed, however, is the hierarchy

Made plain beneath the surface of the sea.

Enough of hubris in the human heart

Not smart enough to see its humbler part.

The whale is bigger than the human fellow

And has a better brain despite our bellow.

Eternal life is not vouchsafed to any

That is born in the sea or landed penny.

Regardless of the brain and heart and hand

Expected of the human sort of stand,

Participating in the animal

That is the human fate in barn and stall,

I find creation of the whale comes first

Like warning to us humans we’re not worst.

Instead of realizing that our day

Among created things lifts us in sway,

Emergence of the whale reminds each man

That there is one above him in the plan.

Before I’d lord it over cow and lamb

Ensconced beside the milk teats of its dam,

Some recognition of the greater mind

That whales bear ought to give me sign resigned

I am inferior to some myself

And am no higher in the scheme than elf.

Some think that man has the immortal soul

That escapes other creatures caught in toll.

Experience has taught my egoless

Rebellion that such thinking in address

Rests on the fallacy of naval spection,

A focus on one’s own braver selection.

Exit the human soul as one unique.

Sink in the knowledge that the claw and beak

Each have their way and place in the world’s law

Come back upon immortal soul for flaw.

Until the fifth day no specific beast

Named came except the whale and not one least.

Down to the sixth day only whales stood out

Under the divine story with a shout.

Now on the sixth day humankind arises

Surprised to see himself mentioned with prizes.

Perhaps the elephant should have come first

Exceptionally mentioned with a burst.

Cry foul or not, the human name appears

In the narration of the sixth day steers.

Each name of animal to come will be

Some invention of humankind with glee.

So God Himself names only whales and men

Until He grant the right to men again.

After the naming of the thousand kinds

Soon brought forth on the earth, the story binds

Forthcoming generations in the view.

Animals on the land range out in pew.

Can anything more beautiful attest

To divine love than what the beasts invest

Uncovered by the sixth day on the land?

No doubt a bear or deer print on demand

Enters the view for gracious living where

Strut ostriches and prairie dogs to share

The days of their creation with the bold

In speaking out and giving names of gold.

The sixth day sees the rise of beast to wake

And human beings come last for a break.



Et fecit Deus béstias terrae iuxta spécies suas et iuménta et omne réptile terrae in génere suo et vidit Deus quod esset bonum. ~ Genesis i,25


Engaged in speculation as I view

The serpents from my childhood to this pew,

Few thoughts in kind and favor of the best

Enter in to my soul in its unrest.

Certain and sure, I know that some men find

In serpents a joy rational designed.

The fear and the aversion of the breed

Does no one credit, that I shall concede.

Etched with the wrinkles of my age and years,

Unyouthed of prejudice and childish fears,

Still I do not appreciate the sort.

Be continents between us and resort.

Elected the best animal or not,

Some serpents simply do not hit the spot.

Those finer reptiles may be wise and rare,

I still prefer to have the beasts elsewhere.

Among things declared good in their creation,

Still serpents have a place of bright elation,

Though for my part they should stay out of house,

Except for by the doorstep to catch mouse.

Remains of yesteryears do play my mind,

Remembering the scar on granddad lined,

Arm whited with the gash that I still saw,

Even after half a century, with awe.

Just how did he get that scar, I would ask.

Under the stress or not of times that bask,

X marks the spot of tragedy for one

That played on the packed kitchen floor and spun

A churn paddle in three-year-old hands well.

Such play was fine and dandy for a spell.

Perched by the stove with crackling fire and sweet,

Entrenched in safety of home and retreat,

Could any come to think he’d be attacked?

I think not in this day and page unslacked.

End of the story. His mother kept there

Some snake or two, a blacksnake to beware,

Should catch the mice invading kitchen bare.

Under the table such a pet was coiled

And hoped to rest unbothered and unspoiled.

Some children at three do not know their strength.

Enter my infant grandfather at length

To smack the blacksnake with paddle of churn.

I think the bite he got for that might earn

Under the table praises for the snake.

My memories of that event at stake

Entice me to hold grudges anyway.

Now I know the snake entered on the fray

That day was in the right. I have no doubt

And will vouch for its innocence in shout

Each time it is condemned. And yet I think

The bite holds venom to the mind on brink

Of bias for all creatures that would slink.

Many folk in that far-off day and place

Never considered keeping out the race.

Each one had kitchen serpents where they might

Reach out to rid the place of vermin slight,

Extending to my childhood, though the mores

Perhaps had turned a corner by my scores.

The keeping of a kitchen serpent now

Is rare indeed on the modern-day bough.

Let cats catch mice is what so many say.

Each to each as he likes in work and play.

The serpent is as good as any cat

Engaged in catching the odd mouse or rat.

Reminders of the Appalachian life

Run amok in my aging peace and strife.

A blacksnake once came very close to me

Engaged in carving a mask in a tree.

I was so focused on the work at hand

Nothing could have distracted me to stand.

Grassed hedgerow hid the pathway of the beast

Engrossed in moving up the row at least,

Not then expecting human hands intruding.

Exactly as I finished with my brooding,

Raised up my head and eyes, there it lay still,

Entranced in watching what I might fulfil.

Silent and slow had been my lovely toil,

Until I spied the glistening black coil.

Only that one adventure in time met,

Etched on my spirit gives me pleasure yet.

That glittering head of wisdom so near mine

Vanquished my prejudices like fine wine.

I held communion with the blacksnake there,

Did not turn and flee

Dixítque Deus : Ecce dedi vobis omnem herbam afferéntem semen super terram, et univérsa ligna quæ habent in semetípsis seméntem géneris sui, ut sint vobis in escam : ~ Genesis i,29.


Done with creation in the absolute,

I turn my taste to leaf and fruit and root,

Xanthatic store of garment and of dish,

I eat with boldness and dress as I wish.

The rayon fads are over, and the leaf

Quite well suffices for food without grief

Unto the human multitude as well,

Except it is animal food in spell.

Does anyone bring ridicule on me

Eating the salad in illegal spree?

Useless it well may be then to retort

Such people eat dead carcasses in sport.

Enough of rabbit food is here today

Clutched in the garden basket in the sway

Controlled by snail and caterpillar’s roost

Entirely consuming some leaves to boost.

Dominion of mankind is well defined

Enclosed in dinners braised as well as wined.

Dominion is to eat the fruit and nut

I find along with grain and to the glut.

Vain is the cry dominion can survive

On vegetation green to keep alive,

By eating root and flesh at hunger’s call.

I lose dominion in such diet’s thrall.

So many readers and expositors

Of Genesis think that the open doors

Made clear in this text gives them room to stand

Not equally with animals on land,

Ensconced in fruity lust, but rulers there

Made kings of all the beasts and all their share.

How much in depredation and in pain

Endured by fauna of the world in vain

Rises from the foul reading of this text

By priest and preacher and president vexed!

All man’s dominion and the woman’s too

Makes nothing more than the good food in view.

All animals are given for their share

Food in the plot of the next verse that’s there.

Food for the population of the earth,

Earth filled with goods when not destroyed by dearth,

Remains the only power in hand of man:

Each one must have his food and so by plan.

None may usurp the power of other breeds

To go beyond legitimate in needs.

Elastic laws today destroy the whole.

Mankind has lost dominion and control

Sipping his leafy wines and eating flesh

Enough to bind him in unholy mesh.

My loss perhaps it is, but I too fail

Eating the leave and muscle with a wail

Not to mention the root. Potatoes are

So good with salt and butter, yes, by gar.

Upernavik, of course, provides excuse,

Provides good reason for nature’s abuse.

Eternal snows prevent banana’s growth,

Rain only one day in the summers, both

Take from the soil but little fruit and seed

Extensive enough for the human need.

Reside in Greenland, lose dominion’s own,

Ripe oranges there simply are not grown.

Along the path I walked to work in time

Made distant by my years and by my rhyme

Emerged the breadfruit trees in height sublime

To shade my way and bear green balls and hard.

Under the trees a leaf fell like a card

Not rarely as a I walked, and skidded past.

I sometimes startled at the shadow cast.

Voices of breadfruit leaves still meet my ear,

Ear faded with the sounds of love and fear,

Remembered and remembering at last

Slow days of work and study in the past.

All that is gone, obliterated now.

Long years have cast a furrow on my brow.

I know the trees have fallen down as well.

God made nothing eternal in this swell.

No tree nor man will stand forever here

Although the nourishment of each appear.

Quick is the course of life and fleeting too

Until one comes into the grave as due.

All that I eat of fruit and seed and nut

Enters the earth and then the door is shut,

Hinged on the declaration of all time,

All creatures eat a moment and that crime

Before the throne of sun and moon lies down,

Eternally forgotten without frown.

Nothing but the eternal face of God

Trembles upon the screen of sky and sod

In an eternal rate. All others pass

Nearby or far, but back into the mass

Stripped of all light and hope: into the night

Eternal of creation and its plight.

My soul, whether eternal or made bare

Encased in body with no other share,

Touches its fate whatever that may be

In moments and in glances of beauty.

Politely she may stand aside to let

Some other living thing emerge and get

In fleeting moments some existence met.

Such courtesy is all that can be found

Simply upon an earth that may be round.

Each thing existing in the light and dark

Makes motion from beginning to the stark

Eternal weight and dense black of the night,

Night glowing for a moment to ignite

The fallow hopes of universe in light.

Entrance into the realm of fruit and seed

Make happiness enough for human greed.

God is an aspiration far too high:

Enough to have something for teeth to try.

Now that my teeth have broken seed and pod,

Escaped the aspiration to be God,

Renounced the hope of false eternity,

I patiently wait for the final spree.

Someday adventures out above the stars

Shall slack my soul eternal of its bars

Until the fading energy I feel

I pluck again to make renewed appeal.

Under the round of universe I go

To taste the fruit of every tree I know.

Some are of poison taint, so the verse slow

Inspires Russian roulette to let me show

Not only how brave it is to be born

To life and nut and seed and fruit unshorn,

Vanquished by simple place and time and brew

Of waiting for a better ship and crew,

But to stand up and shout in beauty’s perch:

I am a flash and glint though caught in lurch.

Some stay to hope for heaven or to fear hell:

I feed upon the breadfruit, leave the shell.

No wandering deprives me of that task.

Each turn of the wheel begs questions I ask.

Some go down to the silence with a shout.

Can any know the place of roundabout?

All I ask is an apple for the way,

My packed lunch is my happiness and pay.



Et cunctis animántibus terræ, omníque vólucri cæli, et univérsis quæ movéntur in terra, et in quibus est ánima vivens, ut hábeant ad vescéndum. Et factum est ita. ~ Genesis i,30.


Entranced am I to see the Vulgate’s word

To make no difference and undeterred

Conclusion on the rate of what to eat

Under the grand regime of the effete.

No difference is made here of the diet

Considered human and animal riot.

To eat the fruit and seed and nut is right

I see for man and beast and without fright.

So though the Masoretic word gives man

A portion of his nourishment by plan

Not with the beast, but separate in store,

I find the Vulgate opens both the door

Made sweet with fruit and seed and nut galore.

All things are given for creatures to eat

Not shedding blood or leaf or root in treat

To make diminish life of even plant.

I find this non-violent meal a grant,

Boon of the pleasant, peaceful hope of man

Upon the earth as well as woman’s plan.

So what’s the grand dominion of the earth

To take for humankind above beast’s worth?

Each has his food in store by right of birth,

Renouncing it cannot be contemplated.

Remind me then to what we are instated.

All power is given to this humankind

Encroaching not a bit on bestial blind.

Out of time I remember of days past

My eating of the leaves that came to cast

Not merely salads but the herb in store

I found growing about my cabin door.

Quite willingly I tasted every one

Until I knew the flavor of the sun

Each bore beneath the eastern sky aloft.

Vetch and the violet and when I coughed

Only a pinch of coltsfoot for my dream.

Lovely it was to quaff of nature’s cream,

Until I understood dominion’s lost

Consuming leaf and root among the mossed.

Right teaching of unfaithful watchers this

I have imbibed and bent further to kiss

Clay of the field and smell blossoms in bliss

Among the dandelions, leaf and root.

Each magic moment held me by the boot.

Long were the days I chewed on sassafras,

I plucked the four forms of its leaves to pass

Entranced by the soft stems between my teeth

To taste the better portion of the wreath.

Under its toes the root of course rang true

Not failing to seduce me where it grew.

Vice for the taste of sassafras indeed

Entered my very soul as though a need.

Reading the King James and the Hebrew text

Sometimes I thought dominion of perplexed

I found in giving man a special meal,

Something the animals in their appeal

Quite simply had no right to for their weal,

Until Vulgata and Douay corrected

All errors in my thinking unselected.

Emerging from the soil the root and leaf

Make no one’s meal in appetite or grief.

Of seed and fruit and nut and squashes fine

Vouchsafed for man and beast for very wine

Each is to find his food and place revealed.

No one is left bereft in wood and field.

Touched with this fine simplicity I go

Under the wheel of fortunate below,

Ripe with the divine will and the command,

I take the seed and nut and fruit in hand.

Nourished this very morning this way I

Take hold of my dominion under sky.

Eating my oatmeal porridge cooked indeed

Raisins too in the pot, my fruit and seed

Remind me that I chose dominion’s way

All without trampling animals in sway.

Each man who thinks he’s king of animal

I deem imposter in creation’s thrall.

No one can share a meal and then go out

Quite enemy or master: meals make flout

Untroubled tyrants. So to share with beast

I make myself its equal at the least.

Both man and beast, both woman and the bird

Untiringly about the earth have stirred

Strung out in seeking equally to eat,

Eat all that is to be found there for treat.

Such baking my own grandma used to make

To taste like honey-comb, her bread in stake

And all the juicy treats from oven taken

No one has ever after that forsaken,

I trow, her fancies having such things tasted.

My memory of course may have been basted.

Among the pots and pans of that small space,

Voice lifted in a hymn or two with grace,

I still recall the scents than vied with sound,

Voice calling me to come and taste what’s found.

Each art and craft and craving as well too

Notes that the memory has in its view

Some sweeter and some greater thing to say

Under the light of memory in sway.

To taste is good but to recall the taste

Has double power, which is why there’s no waste

Among the aged who can hardly know

By their dulled senses the bread’s taste and glow.

Each taste is magnified by memory.

All things grow sweeter in the days that flee.

Now that I’ve tasted both the seed and leaf,

Though eating leaf’s inherent to man’s grief,

All things created stand up in my mind

Donned with the golden sheen of the refined

Vanguard of memory. Creation’s blind.

Escaping memory at last, I’ll shake

Such myths that human minds always must make.

Candle and starlight still rise to ignore

Each great achievement of science in store.

Nuthatch and jay both grab the seed and take

Down notes on which trees the better seeds make.

Unsung for their discoveries, they vie

Making the air resound with every cry.

Example of the jay, of the nuthatch.

Touched with the madness of such souls to catch,

Forth go I on the earth and in the air

And even on the puddles not to spare,

Chanting and cantillating in my joy

To eat the fruit and nut and to employ

Ungraciously the seed to make my bread,

My porridge and my dinner as I’m led.

Etched on my brain and on my mind fulfilled

Such visions of my nourishment unstilled

Take flight above the meadow and the wood.

I’d follow such bird flights then if I could.

Today created things around me bound

And I remain a quandary in sound.



Vidítque Deus cuncta quæ fécerat, et erant valde bona. Et factum est véspere et mane, dies sextus. ~ Genesis i,31


Vin perdu dans les jours d’une vie incomplète,

Indique-moi toujours l’heure arrivée de fête.

Donne-moi donc ta main, ô toi, soleil brillant.

Je me suis réveillé par le son de tes gants.

Toi qui te mets tes gants parfois sous le tonnerre,

Qui vois sans œil le sol et tout rampant par terre,

Unique, tu te vois comme un soleil caché

Et en silence crois que c’est le jour dernier.

Donne-moi ton regard, ô toi, lune insolite

Et grossière en tout lieu, et comme une marmite.

Un regard seulement et je serai content

Sous ton obscurité et avec ton serment.

Content, je l’avoue bien, content toujours à l’être,

Un crapaud non sanglant et toujours sans un maître.

N’est-ce pas une fin considérable, cher,

Cher ami, donne-moi ta main, laissons l’amer.

Toute création ensemble est plus fidèle

Avec sa symphonie que la part immortelle.

Que la lumière soit et que l’obscurité,

Une ombre dans la foi, soit aussi belle in spe.

Après le firmament, après le sol, ensuite

Épais et ondulant, l’océan qui s’agite.

Fruits et herbes sur sol, je regarde le tout

Et je m’appuie par terre et regarde en dessous.

Comme une grande étoile auprès de son nuage

Et tout à fait au poil, je nie aussi mon âge.

Rendu enfantin, moi, je me vante en mon sort.

Avec le cœur tout plein, j’essaie de faire efforts.

Toute une vie en six journées sur-créatrices

Et je me bats de voir un jour et sans supplices.

Tandis qu’un jour produit ses oiseaux, ses poissons,

Et tandis que cette âme énonce en grâce tons,

Remarquez, cher lecteur, que l’être humain écoute

Avec audiophone encore et avec doute.

Niez, si vous voulez, le Dieu le Créateur.

Toute la foi qui va de l’homme débiteur

Va pour se dissiper. C’est plutôt la foi grande

Auprès du cœur divin qui vaut quelque demande.

La foi de Dieu en moi me console par tout.

Depuis le premier jour je vois le monde sous

Énormes firmaments. J’attends aussi, j’espère

Bonnes nouvelles, car les grands cieux et la terre

Ouvrent devant mon œil abondantes couleurs.

N’ayant pas plus en vue que l’amour dans mon cœur

Avec mes chants conçus aux profondes ténèbres,

Est-ce que la merveille en le créé célèbre

Tend une vision plus glorieuse en soi ?

Foutu dans mon fauteuil, je perds l’espoir en foi.

Alors, je me souviens que tout autour de l’ère

Contient création meilleure qu’un mystère.

Tout déclaré très bon doit être bon aussi,

Une exposition créatrice en profit.

Même si ce qu’on voit abondant dans le monde

Émerveille par poid de vilenie profonde,

Sa promesse revient encore et au retour

Tout bout de plombe en or changeant de jour en jour.

Vendue le vendredi, l’âme est obscure et blanche.

Et après l’angélus, l’espoir tourne au dimanche.

Si quelqu’un peut me dire en toute vérité

Pourquoi création est dite en sa beauté

Énormément vaillante et très bonne à comprendre,

Rougissant, je dirai que le tout peut s’étendre

Entre le ciel de Dieu et le sol des humains.

Écarté par la foi, banni quand je la crains,

Tout mon être comprend l’échec connu des anges.

Ma foi! Ils sont déçus et par le grand mélange.

Ainsi le monde beau retourne à son chaos.

Non, au commencement le bon Dieu fit tout beau.

En commençant encore au bout de la semaine,

Dieu fait création répétition vaine,

Ignorée et absurde au moins que l’être humain

Entré dans son espoir ne pousse un cri d’airain.

Si tout est très bon, vois qu’aussi l’âme de terre

S’est éveillée encore et échappée de guerre.

Ensuite, après mon cours de solfège et de foi,

Xerxès aussi m’appelle à mon sabbat de choix.

Tout en silence doux, je vais là où je trouve

Un repos et un sort plus beau que l’on éprouve

Sur le pont submergé sous la grâce et la loi.