Category Archives: Universe

“Limbs”

 

Conceptual image with a businessman on top of a maze.

“Limbs”

Limbs, appendages, extensions, sinew stretched
Across chasms, voids, and axles;
Creation’s foam will occupy the mind; cosmic jackals,
Vain imaginings spun from fractals, etched
In plaited mesh and skeletal remains combine
To people thought and populate whole scenarios—
Nothing ever quiets the machine. The interim’s need will borrow
Legitimacy and gravitas from life’s singularity, refine
Their use within the era, penultimate lines in rhyme
Penned to presage the tentative, simple strokes of time.
Transition’s in the air, my friends, and next in line
For what’s about to come to pass might well be curses
For the speed with which the world embraces change for its mistakes.
Creation weds the art of accident to apposition for its own sake.

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“The ‘Once’, the ‘Ever'”

…dedicated to Hermann Bloch
1 November 1886– 30 May 1951
“”I shall not die of a cold. I shall die of having lived.”

“The ‘Once’, the ‘Ever'”

The once, the ever, standing in the atrium must burn;
The nexus of the meeting of the feeble lamps are lit as Virgil sits alone,
The flint stone at the confluence of the rivers; a tone
Once heard, a trace no more than words. Ever then discerns
A wisdom in the lengthening of days on end;
A reconciliation of the first sun’s now within
The pale of the last night’s then and all its many-eyed kin;
The End, scintilla of a notion’s distant toast:
“To Cæsar!” Distractions in the movement defer to mortality, defend
The pattern as it is, the peoples’ choice, a proud
Morbidity based in universal song on this, a night of leaving, joy
On this, a day of meeting. Stars and verses, voids,
A universe of empty consummation never executed while clouds
Obscure the moon, as ever toils below;
Perspicuous, yes! the once and only suns express,
So dark a night as never and one more day of less.

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Block’s Death of Virgil had to be the most ambitious reading of any single novel I have ever read with James’ The Ambassadors right up there with it, but a close second. The stimulus of both novels, however, is incomparable in value and I can suggest that anyone who values the language should read both of them at least once before death simply because they exist; as Everest has been for the mountain climbers, so both novels have been to anyone who reads and loves the language.

Block’s “Virgil” is not fun to read, but it represents an incomparable challenge and once conquered, a kind of badge of honour having braved the greatest storms of both prose and poetry that could be imagined short of blowing out the circuits of both.

With the James novel, it was said that it was his favourite, but apparently almost impenetrable to some readers of his time. To one “Lady ‘whomever’” who complained of this, he advised sticking with it and that once having arrived at a certain point in the narration, the specific gravity or gravitas of that novel would hit and the worth of the whole vindicated. And so it was; I had to read that novel page by page, reading each several times to get anything near clarity in what was being said or where the action of that novel was going. Then, one late afternoon, while cooling off from a very hot shower in preparation for going out for the evening, I decided to sit on my bed, pick up that novel and continue plugging away at it. Suddenly, there it was! A catharsis of unimaginable majesty that hit so hard that I almost cancelled my evening out in order to continue reading to the end. Great works are like that.

For me, there is no “fun” involved in reading, but the rewards are everlasting, something that is rare in the reading of secular prose. Block’s work is a combination of poetry and prose in a mixture I never thought possible until reading “Virgil,” and I cannot imagine now, an equal to this. My sonnet alludes to but one of the thoughts that seem to dance throughout that work in spite of laborious, endless poetry, all of which may be beautiful, but only in small doses like genuine truffles; like chocolate, there are some things in this world that are “legal” but close to lethal in effects, and Block’s “Virgil” comes quite close to that.

 

“Between the Particles”

“Between the Particles”

Between the particles, seeds, whole galaxies
With beings monstrous in physique by grace
To be or not to be of any consequence; a place
Of high dramatic action, energies, prolixities
And all that is the chaos and confusion here
Among us there between the millions, there
Where no present eye beholds the plan; fair
Throughout minions of the wide arena sated, dear
To those whose measures are diminutive
But in such numbers as we cannot command,
Or catalogue; and even here may be the death of man
In servitude to what is life to them, disease to us, illustrative
Of powers to the nano only recently imagined:
We seek where there is nothing; we see mountains in grains of sand.

“So Easy to Feel”

“So Easy to Feel”

So easy to feel, to seem to be, to know at last propinquity
As if the light declares the coming glory of the sun at daybreak
Redundant. But as that disk cannot be seen for more than seconds, I take
That certainty of coming morning within me,
Knowing that midnight’s richest prize in ivory
Is forever fixed as is the station of the sun; the moon an intimate
In someone’s flight, perhaps, but even so, as she reveals herself in states
And phases never hers, agitation gains nothing in the motion save in memory
And affectations of the sea within me–force upon another force,
Measured consequence of a functionary that renders boundaries
Of continental pride and the ocean’s doors
Cast aside in the riot of the tides, a natural stampede, no more
Than thresholds of natural accident, the stream and river’s course
Now rising, now again a swelling to apostrophes, eternal inertia born of gravity.

“Where the Sun Has Risen”

“Where the Sun Has Risen”

Where the sun has risen marks the edge
Of all that’s been but, offering no offense
To what is evident in the primal disk, an evidence
Of what has been and not what is, a hedge
Against rebellion in the ranks; a wedge
Deliberate, a proof, divine, that in the imminence
Of being and in having been, an eminence,
Is occluded like the stars at noon, replacing every absolute with the pledge
Of probabilities within a sacred zone of time. Masked against the periphery,
The matter, more the consequence of having largely come
From nothing and ascended to even less, dissent expressed in helplessness
Addresses issues of existence as if they were a wilderness
Of weeds for the sake of worlds below and well beyond all mystery
Of galaxies, a Lilliputian sovereignty beyond the banality of the sun.

“The Moon Last Night”

“The Moon Last Night”

The moon last night was less
A pence and winter’s rare
But definite solstice
Fixed but twice, the era
Common to the matrix
Since the Christ’s eclipse
Began in blood-red darkness fixed
With vinegar to those parched lips
And rent the Temple’s veil
From top to bottom, shifts
Three hundred years to no avail
Until both church and state
Were were made to celebrate;
Twice, then, since Christ, the last in 1638.