japonisme: The Greatest Grandeur

25 April 2008

The Greatest Grandeur

Some say it’s in
the reptilian dance
of the purple-tongued
sand goanna,
for there the
magnificent translation
of tenacity into bone and grace occurs.

And some declare it to be an expansive
desert — solid rust- orange rock
like dusk captured on earth in stone —
simply for the perfect contrast it provides
to the blue-grey ridge of rain
in the distant hills.

Some claim the harmonics of shifting
electron rings to be most rare and some
the complex motion of seven sandpipers
bisecting the arcs and pitches
of come and retreat over the mounting

Others, for gran- deur, choose the terror
of lightning peals on prairies or the tall
collapsing cathedrals of stormy seas,
because there they feel dwarfed
and appropriately helpless; others select
the serenity of that ceiling/cellar
of stars they see at night on placid lakes,
because there they feel assured
and universally magnanimous.

But it is the dark emptiness contained
in every next moment that seems to me
the most singularly glorious gift,
that void which one is free to fill
with processions of men bearing burning
cedar knots or with
parades of blue horses,
belled and ribboned and
stepping sideways,
with tumbling
white-faced mimes or companies
of black-robed choristers; to fill simply
with hammered silver teapots
or kiln-dried
crockery, tangerine and almond custards,
polonaises, polkas, whittling sticks, wailing
walls; that space large enough to hold all
invented blasphemies and pieties, 10,000
definitions of god and more, never fully
filled, never.

© 1994 by Pattiann Rogers

from Firekeeper: New and Selected Poems (1994).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

stunning .... the words, the images ... i shall return for more

lady blue

26 April, 2008 07:43  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thank you blue--i somehow find it quite appropriate that at the moment of this post, two new fans are made.

26 April, 2008 09:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pattiann Rogers is my favorite poet. Thank you for the lovely site. It magnifies the beauty of the poem.

26 April, 2008 10:58  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

that's a really lovely compliment, anon, thank you.

and yeah, me too. isn't she just amazing?

26 April, 2008 12:31  
Blogger Roxana said...

this is so wonderful, the living openness, freedom of endless choice, the glory and horror of it: "But it is the dark emptiness contained
in every next moment that seems to me
the most singularly glorious gift,
that void which one is free to fill"...

28 April, 2008 16:38  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

rogers consistantly manages to put the inexpressable into glorious words.

good reading on it, rox

28 April, 2008 18:06  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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