Dancing ‘Round the Tree of Life: Two Poems

“We clasp the hands of those who go before us,
and the hands of those who come after us;
we enter the little circle of each other’s arms,
and the larger circle of lovers
whose hands are joined in a dance,
and the larger circle of all creatures,
passing in and out of life,
who move also in a dance,
to a music so subtle and vast
that no one hears it except in fragments.”
– Wendell Berry, Healing IV, from What Are People For?

Can poets (can men in television)
Be saved? It is not easy
To believe in unknowable justice
Or pray in the name of a love
Whose name one’s forgotten: libera
Me, libera C (dear C)
And all poor s-o-b’s who never
Do anything properly, spare
Us in the youngest day, when all are
Shaken awake, facts are facts
(And I shall know exactly what happened
Today between noon and three)
That we, too, may come to the picnic
With nothing to hide, join the dance
As it moves in perichoresis
Turns about the abiding tree.

– W H Auden, Compline, from Horae Canonicae


One Response to Dancing ‘Round the Tree of Life: Two Poems

  1. Mick February 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    I can’t bring myself to comment and break the silence except to say this is wonderful stuff. Thanks for sharing, Mike.

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