Friday, August 6, 2010

"As if talk were a dance"

According to Bede, Caedmon, a herdsman at a monastery, would leave the monks celebrating with feasting and song to join the animals, because he had no talent with songs. There, one night, he had a dream or a vision, in which he was given the gift of poetry and told to sing principium creaturarum, "the beginning of created things." He is the earliest-known English poet.


Denise Levertov

All others talked as if

talk were a dance.
Clodhopper I, with clumsy feet
would break the gliding ring.
Early I learned to
hunch myself
close by the door:
then when the talk began
I’d wipe my
mouth and wend
unnoticed back to the barn
to be with the warm beasts,
dumb among body sounds
of the simple ones.
I’d see by a twist
of lit rush the motes
of gold moving
from shadow to shadow
slow in the wake
of deep untroubled sighs.
The cows
munched or stirred or were still. I
was at home and lonely,
both in good measure. Until
the sudden angel affrighted me—light effacing
my feeble beam,
a forest of torches, feathers of flame, sparks upflying:
but the cows as before
were calm, and nothing was burning,
nothing but I, as that hand of fire
touched my lips and scorched my tongue
and pulled my voice
into the ring of the dance.

1 comment:

  1. I don't usually set much store by these 'poetic' things, but this ones pretty good! :-)