Friday, May 24, 2019

a poem for Giambattist Vico written by the Pacific

A rephrasing of Vico;
All cultures go through three stages, Culture moves from the
Sacred World to the Aristocratic Realm to the Democratic Place,
and back again.


We were sitting there, badly blessed, and brooding
On aristocracies near the trouserless ocean.
We knew we were pure prose; the ocean stretched
Out, blown by wind, but we remained where we were.
The sand shifted; all of us walked on flat boards.
We were no one in particular, in our messy lives.
We tended to stay who we were. Our minds stay in this
Particular room with Nils and Judy and Tom.
If death is the mother of fashion, we don't mind.
I am myself; I am what is around me.
Pine cones fall and stick where they fall.
That is what it's like when we are born
Not from wind or spirit, but from things. 


Spirit moves where it moves; that is what 
People are like who are born of the Spirit. 
For in high air there burns a furious spirit.
It rises out of ground like Milton's mind
That meets all furies high above the sea.
It wants to rise. "If music be the food of love,
Play on." So notes, inspired not by our toes
But by th'inspired intellect, take us
Out of the dark soul-house, upward through turns
And spiral stairs, fighting the darken'd air.
The Spirit carries us, and in our minds
We know if we are high or not. It is 
Something like this for those still in the Spirit.


 The wind blows where it likes: that is what
Everyone is like who is born from the wind.
Oh now it's getting serious. We want to be those
Born from the wind that blows along the plains
And over the sea where no one has a home.
And that Upsetting Rabbi, didn't he say;
"Take nothing with you, no blanket, no bread.
When evening comes, sleep wherever you are.
And it the owners say no, shake out the dust
From your sandals; leave the dust on their doorstep."
Don't hope for what will never come. Give up hope,
Dear friends, the joists of life are laid on the winds.

~ Robert Bly
from Morning Poems