Monday 8 January 2007

On flying over Arizona on a clear day: a sonnet

What ancient chaos thundered here?
What waves rage-clawed these rocks for a thousand million years,
Before subsiding with a hiss?
What formless deep lurched up and tore the earth,
Peeling back her skin and baring every vein?
What gods were hurled here flaming from the sky,
When these charred and bloodied plains were rent and stained?
What giants crossed these mountains,
Shaking the deep, and scarring jagged footprints in their wake?
What waters surged and boiled,
What Spirit brooded here at the beginning?
And when this Canyon – ah, my God! –
When some dread hand reached down and carved the Canyon,
The angels hid their faces and fell down.


Ben Myers said...

In case you missed it, here is the moral of this poem: 36 hours of travelling without sleep can turn even the best of us into raving romantic pantheists....

Anonymous said...

Me thinks that thou perhaps hast found,
as from a height Hiltonic,
the place Prometheus was bound,
and moved by Muse you now expound
in verse that's quite Miltonic.

Enjoy, Ben.
And kindest regards to e-friends at Princeton.


::aaron g:: said...

oh...I thought it about FSU's thrashing of The Ohio State University in today's Arizona-based Fiesta Bowl.

Michael Westmoreland-White, Ph.D. said...

BTW, when is it NOT a clear day over Arizona? The Canyon is truly magnificent. And, of course, I--a Florida State alumnus--also thought you were speaking of FSU's bowl victory.

Princeton's Center for Barth Studies is great. Hope you enjoy yourself--despite being in [shudder!] New Jersey! :-)

Anonymous said...

Yet FSU was not the victor in the game, it was their dreaded rival the Florida Gators.

Funny how 3 posts deal with football (american), in a poem by Ben. Doesn't he love sport?

Ben, give yourself some credit...say a panentheist, not pantheist.

michael jensen said...

Hmm. Miltonic, not Hopkinsian?
('ah, bright wings')?

David Williamson said...

I think there's a touch of RS Thomas... This is what he might have sounded like if he'd abandonned the damp hills for a ride in a jumbo jet above the badlands.

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael. Well, Ben's a Milton scholar. Besides, try rhyming "Hopkinsian"!

And David - what, R.S. in God's adversary, a "machine", and heading to the national embodiment of that cosumerism he so loathed?! Mind, he admired the sense of national identity in many American poets.

Ben Myers said...

Actually, it was meant to be a cross between Milton, Blake and Hopkins -- especially Blake (cf. "The Tyger": "...what dread hands and what dread feet?"). In any case, it's clear that Kim is the true poet here: who else could have rhymed "Miltonic"?

Princeton is lovely -- the first snow of the season just started falling as I was crossing the street this morning.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ben.

"The Tyger" - how appropriate: It's the Princeton Tigers, isn't it?

And re. the "Miltonic" - I almost went for a line ending "supersonic"!

Anonymous said...

I actually enjoyed the poem very much....thanks for sharing.

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