Monthly Archives: March 2010
Theatrical distances, bronze shadows heaped
On high horizons, mountainous atmospheres
Of sky and sea.
It was her voice that made
The sky acutest at its vanishing.
She measured to the hour its solitude.
She was the single artificer of the world
In which she sang. And when she sang, the sea,
Whatever self it had, became the self
That was her song, for she was the maker. Then we,
As we beheld her striding there alone,
Knew that there never was a world for her
Except the one she sang and, singing, made.
Ramón Fernández, tell me, if you know,
Why, when the singing ended and we turned
Toward the town, tell why the glassy lights,
The lights in the fishing boats at anchor there,
As the night descended, tilting in the air,
Mastered the night and portioned out the sea,
Fixing emblazoned zones and fiery poles,
Arranging, deepening, enchanting night.
Oh! Blessed rage for order, pale Ramón,
The maker’s rage to order words of the sea,
Words of the fragrant portals, dimly-starred,
And of ourselves and of our origins,
In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.
Did students use to say, “I need you to pass me because I am graduating next semester and do not have space in my schedule to repeat this course?” [Emphasis added]
Here, in an illustration made about 1400 CE, Gawain beheads the Green Knight, who survives this. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was written by the Pearl Poet, and Sir Gawain’s horse is called Gringalet.
The story begins at King Arthur’s court, but there is a kind of preface setting it into the context of the Trojan War and its aftermath. This is that beginning, in modern English since I do not read Middle English easily. We are to notice the bob and wheel construction.
After the siege and the assault of Troy, when the city was burned to ashes, the knight who therein wrought treason was tried for his treachery and was found to be the truest on earth. Aeneas the noble it was, and his high kindred, who vanquished great nations and became the rulers of well-nigh all the western world. Noble Romulus went to Rome with great show of strength, and built that city at the first, and gave it his own name, as it is called to this day. Ticius went into Tuscany and began to set up habitations, and Langobard made his home in Lombardy; whilst Brutus, far over the French sea by many a full broad hill-side, the fair land of Britain
[bob] did win,
[wheel] Where war and wrack and wonder
Often were seen therein,
And oft both bliss and blunder
Have come about through sin.
Today we are having a yoga class. In this class we will imagine how it would be to go through the days without guilt. I think it would be amazing.
I shall not list here the things I feel guilty about. But as I think of them and imagine them leaving me, I become aware of their weight.