“Miriam: The Red Sea” by Muriel Rukeyser and “Easter” by George Herbert

“I have drunken deep of joy,
And I will taste no other wine tonight.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley



Miriam: The Red Sea

High above shores and times,
I on the shore
forever and ever.
Moses my brother
has crossed over
to milk, honey,
that holy land.
Building Jerusalem.
I sing forever
on the seashore.
I do remember
horseman and horses,
waves of passage
poured into war,
all poured into journey.
My unseen brothers
have gone over;
chariots
deep seas under.
I alone stand here
ankle-deep
and I sing, I sing,
until the lands
sing to each other.

© Muriel Rukeyser, “Searching/Not Searching,” Breaking Open (Random House, 1973).

Easter

Rise, heart, thy lord is risen. Sing his praise
Without delays,
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
With him may’st rise:
That, as his death calcinиd thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and, much more, just.

Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
With all thy art,
The cross taught all wood to resound his name
Who bore the same.
His stretchиd sinews taught all strings what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.

Consort, both heart and lute, and twist a song
Pleasant and long;
Or, since all music is but three parts vied
And multiplied
Oh let thy blessиd Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.

© George Herbert, The Complete Works (Everyman’s Library, Reissue 1995)


ABOUT

Poetry … “An art that lives in time …”

IMG_3151From Muriel Rukeyser, a little something for us all to munch on today ….

“The relations of poetry are, for our period, very close to the relations of science. It is not a matter of using the results of science, but of seeing that there is a meeting-place between all the kinds of imagination.  Poetry can provide that meeting-place.

“… a poem is not its words or its images, any more than as symphony is its notes or a river its drops on water.  Poetry depends on the moving relations within itself.  It is an art that lives in time, expressing and evoking the moving relations between the individual consciousness and the world.  The work that a poem does is a transfer of human energy, and I think human energy may be defined as consciousness, the capacity to make change in existing conditions.  It appears to me that to accept poetry in these meanings would make it possible for people to use it as an “exercise,” an enjoyment of the possibility of dealing with the meanings in the world and in their lives.”

Notes from the author, The Life of Poetry (recommended), Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980), American poet and political activist