|Jul/Aug 2010 Poetry Special Feature|
Bomber In The Corn
after Paul Nash
half a year, the land accepts
wreck and crop. Indifferent
sun favors neither sundial
shadow of twisted
iron or the glittering
wind-wave through the corn.
Overhead, the next sowings
gather in the elements.
No doctor could heal
those wounds, but his way was to
honor all the lost.
Watercolor on paper,
pencil tracing the fine lines,
he crosshatched the space
between earth and sky, between
friend and enemy,
allowing the distinction
only in faint horizons.
Renaissance Drawings: The British Museum, 2010
When the history of the world was a chronicle
of miracles: nature outplayed,
logic suspended, undermined—
or exposed, even, in its dry convenience—
the bloodline of gods and kings and heroes
passed mouth to mouth,
and those stories where the sick were cured,
the dead learned to walk again,
in a verbal weave of birth and death,
pain and laughter. Then, brush and stylus
made fable tangible, traced on new surfaces,
doctored to resist encroachment
or invasion of the last day's thought.
Ink on vellum, lead white on paper
were stylised to a holy ideal:
cramped stable or garden unwrapped
to ruined columns, sundial,
arches of wrought-iron and carved stone.
Now watch this procession, the shining eyes.
Listen to the whispers, to the shuffling feet.
Foreshortening, vanishing point, the detail
in a fold of cloth, the blur of edge
between real and drawn—
this incantation of new litanies
is our present veneration.
Here we gaze on what we call miracle now.