Speechless Thunder(Book Of Poetry 1)


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Post a Comment Comments are moderated due to spam. But commentaries, opinions and other remarks about the posts are always welcome! I apologize for the inconvenience. Saturday, December 13, Speechless as Trains. Thus an autonomous and self-sustaining verbal art was unimaginable, in part because it found no favor in the jealous eyes of God, in part because the colonies, by definition, could themselves be neither autonomous nor self-sustaining.

Of course, the colonists were far from speechless.

Philip Larkin: Letters Home review – the poet as loyal, guilt-ridden son

They produced their own newspapers and sermons, although it's telling that when they declared their independence, they justified that freedom in a language of natural rights and reason derived from readings in philosophy imported from the Continent and Britain. Success in revolution and the foundation of the Republic wove a new strand into the language of the nation: judicial discourse became a distinct field of speech, related but not reducible to the thunder of the pulpit or the market's blatant pitch.

Though of major importance, this development had no immediate bearing on American verse. The baleful influence of British taste prevailed throughout the nineteenth century: though powerful, original, and confident voices emerged in verse, there were no critics equal to the task of their full appreciation. Higginson's obtuseness faced with Dickinson's poetry exemplified the general lack of literary discernment: without critics capable of celebrating them and setting them in the context of a new national tradition, the founding voices of the mid-century found no resonance beyond themselves: Dickinson renounced her dreams of publication, Poe died of illness and misunderstanding, Whitman bowdlerized himself into mediocrity.

As the cultural blockade that Victorian Britain had imposed upon the sensibilities of the American higher-educated class collapsed, Symbolist aesthetics developed on the Continent could cross the ocean freely. Over a century ago, French philosophy and arms had proven indispensable in declaring and securing independence from England; now French poetics played a role no less decisive in freeing American verse from the odious shade of Tennyson. Improved access to the English Romantics should also be noted as a benefit of the demise of Victorian taste: the rhapsodic egoism of Shelley, ostracized for eight decades by London, was rediscovered independently by Stevens and Crane, while the chiming irony of Byron took a more circuitous and metamorphic route, although one no less vital: absorbed by Poe and manifested in his tales and essays, transmuted into hard and polished French by Baudelaire, diffused into a haunting vapor by the Symbolists, inhaled by the young Eliot and then represented in the tragicomic, muted swagger of his early poems.

More than any other, it was Eliot who founded American Poetry as a centralized, canonical institution: the quality of his verse and the tenacity of his criticism provided concrete evidence that major poetry could be written, identified, and generally appreciated along his lines, while his tireless efforts to confer social respectability upon his project and his person assured elites on both sides of the Atlantic that modern poetry was no threat to their continued dominance but rather its accoutrement.

Its preservation, even: for if the poems of his emergence enacted the diseased fragility of hierarchy in its dotage, the image he constructed of the major poet, absorbed into impersonality, presented hierarchy, renewed by art, as a certain cure: If you lend me power, I will be an institution that can save you. In lands less insulated than the Anglosphere from economic ruin, such an offer would be formulated in the realm of politics, but since Anglophone elites, protected then as now from the worst of times by dominance in world finance, had less to fear in the Twenties and Thirties, the proposal took place strictly in the realm of literature.

But it was, within those limits, highly influential: by the Forties the Southern Agrarians and New Critics, Eliot's apostles and disciples, had secured not merely access to the American academy, but hegemony within it. In this way a certain brand of poetry, provided with the proper introductions to the Establishment, became an acceptable and even prestigious subject of study: impressing its models upon the sensibilities of young WASP elites who then imposed them on the sensibilities of everyone else it succeeded, to a large extent, in setting generally recognized standards in the art, even if no one was actually happy about it.

New Criticism may have sought to analyze the text within a vacuum, but its own emergence in an institutional setting was not an isolated phenomenon. If the later nineteenth century had been a time for the formation and expansion of the material power of American industry and finance, the first half of the twentieth century was a time for the consolidation of that power in corporate law and its expression in the domains of culture and the state.

It was a period of intense, elite-directed reformation and innovation: the army's weapons, financing, strategy, and tactics were drastically improved in order to secure markets, raw materials, and loan repayments abroad, banking coordinated under the auspices of the new Federal Reserve, research laboratories founded and lavishly funded, countless new administrative organs of the state evolved, Foundations formed to dangle grants and fellowships, intelligence agencies conjured out of thin air, museums of modern art incorporated, councils of foreign relations established.

None of these could have functioned without a ready supply of graduates from the major universities, which cultivated analytic formalism and caste consciousness with such identical, consistent, and indifferent rigor that the two were more or less equated. Despite the master's Anglo-Catholic fancy dress, the operations of New Criticism were very much in line with those of the secularized Calvinism of the academy: scrupulous, intense attention focused exclusively on the isolated subject once God or Providence, now Faulkner or finance or napalm at the expense of dialogue and context.

True, Eliot and his Southern epigones had gestured—not too convincingly, it must be said—towards an ideal of organic cultural unity, but an institution propagates no peculiar thoughts, only its own imperatives: as a standardized practice, New Criticism laid a repeated, relentless, and radical emphasis on monologic mechanism over universal continuity. It's hard not to perceive an analogue here with the operations of the then-nascent American imperium: the order of the word over the word, dominion of the earth over the earth—in either case, the university performed a crucial mediating role, abetting the former and aiding the latter, pervading both with its unremitting logic of purification.

And then the Sixties came. The American system was, to a large extent, reaping what it had sown. Its foreign policy professionals had counseled war in Vietnam, which, coupled with a universal draft, bred intense unrest; its scientists had developed nuclear weapons, an unremitting source of latent panic; its Presidents, pressured by Cold War geopolitics and civil rights activists and armed with the powers of a newly centralized state, dealt crippling blows to institutional white supremacy, deranging many whites and triggering their disaffiliation from the state—what good was the government if it didn't guarantee their bigotry?

Yet none of these factors were exactly novel. The Korean war, an Asian conflict no less grim or threatening than the one in Vietnam, had aroused few tremors in the body politic. The threat of nuclear annihilation had existed for fifteen years without triggering any social explosion. As far back as , Southern whites disgruntled by the prospect of desegregation had run their own candidate for president: Strom Thurmond carried Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina.

In , the model of American society based on the New Deal and the national security state looked far from having exhausted its energies: so why, having weathered stresses similar in kind and scale a mere decade ago, did it buckle and implode? What took place during the Sixties that had failed to happen in the Fifties?

The boomers, then, were the first generation of American children whose sensibilities were shaped more by the moving image than the static word. No other world was imaginable for the children of the Depression era: by and large, they submitted themselves to the processes and logic of existing social structures. But American commercials disseminated a utopian promise entirely lacking elsewhere Marxism having been successfully purged by McCarthyism in the general culture of the Fifties: through the looking glass the boomers learned another world was possible, and they chased it like the children they had been—credulous, daring, and inept.

Between a grisly, dour, institutionalized reality and smiling fantasies of individual satisfaction there could be no competition, least of all among the young. The social turmoil in America differed fundamentally from its counterparts abroad: while the student agitators in France, West Germany, Mexico, Czechoslovakia, Japan, or China were primarily inspired by interpretations of Marxist texts, their American peers the pale ones, anyway; the civil rights movement was powered by autonomous religious speech were fired by capitalist images first and foremost.

So the fundamental difference in mentality between the campus demonstrators and their professors, parents, and administrators went deeper than a difference of political opinion. It was based upon an irreconcilable disparity between two models of capitalism, one centered on the state and reliant on the faceless, written word for indoctrination and control, the other centered on the consumer and addicted to the affective, broadcast image for beauty and excessive profit.

Since the Sixties and especially following the Cold War's end, both the legitimacy of the state and the influence of the printed word have drastically declined; consumer capital, through television, effortlessly wins the hearts and minds of each new generation of children well before they learn to read or write of which more later.

Yet even had the television never been invented, the persuasion of an autistic, structuralist approach to poetry would have been gravely imperiled by the Sixties. Both textually and institutionally, the New Critics had excluded far too much for their own good. Their mode of sterile, neoclassic pedagogy failed to generate new major poets Lowell having wandered off the reservation after whose existence could justify their own, and their thoughtless and contemptuous dismissal of alternative models of poetic conception further proved how much their original rigor had been reduced to sclerosis.

Demanding everything and offering nothing, incurious and intolerable, they showed all the classic signs of a caste formation not long for this world: dry thoughts of a dead season. Still, hegemony is never not formidable: had the nation's culture remained logocentric it seems likely that the New Critics, though incapable of continuing as such, could still have exercised the basic prerogative of power and nominated a cadre of successors.

Yet the shock of the shift from the word to the image and the generation gap corresponding to it would ensure that the New Critics, unable to conceive, would prove unable to adopt as well. The dominance of the poetic ideology conceived by Eliot and justified by his existence expired with the master and his caste, but that hardly meant the major offices of poetry themselves shut down; just that they were filled up differently.

Both in society at large and in the academy, the America of the late Cold War was marked less by a shift in structure than in personnel: the narrow, wasted WASP males withered and the male and female whites, broadly defined, took their places. Of the three major critics who emerged in the period, white academics all, none were Protestant or English in descent: Bloom born was male and Jewish, Perloff born female and Jewish, Vendler born female and Irish Catholic.

Though trained by New Critics and adept in their techniques, they each inclined, in very different ways, towards some version of romantic aesthetics, a predilection which, as their teachers died off, they themselves gained tenure and stature, and puritan mores relaxed, they saw increasingly less need to mask: despite their disparate orientations, each had little difficulty recognizing John Ashbery, an incurable romantic almost totally incomprehensible to New Critical modes of taste, as a major poet.

Ashbery is fun to talk about. His almost casual emergence in the period is worth exploring, the readings and misreadings of him are legion, but for this essay's purposes we'll have to pinpoint one: he was a major poet temperamentally averse to being a Major Poet. Discretion was his natural element. If some mortal danger of personal grief beleaguer one, Let him find salvation with this, in the hope of life, By praying unto thee, O redeemer! If with the torment of doubt some heart be rent, Let it be healed with these lines, Through thy loving kindness.

If some being, lost with inexpiable debts, Be engulfed in the depths of an abyss, Let him be hooked up unto light with this, under thy protection. If some being, numbed by the deceit of dark deeds, be harmed, Let him be strengthened again through thee, And under thy shelter, O thou unique refuge! If the armour of faith abandon some soul, Let thy hand receive him again by means of this, Confining him anew to constancy.

If some being wander into loneliness Away from the vigilance of the guardians, Let him await thy return through this, O renovator! If the trembling of diabolic fever trouble some being, Let him recover through this symbol, Confessing and prostrating before the mystery of thy cross. If the devastating storm of iniquity suddenly strike The bodily structure of man in the sea of this world, Let it calm again by the steerage of these sails Belonging unto thee. Complete thou what I have commenced; And let thy Spirit be mingled within it.

Breathe thou thy great strength unto these verses, Which thou hast bestowed upon me; For thou grandest strength unto the disheartened, And receives glory from all. Elegy 4 Words unto God from the Depths of My Heart 1 And because I have begun to speak unto thee, Who holdest in thine hand The vital breath of my numerously sinful soul, Verily I tremble and quake, Greatly tormented with perpetual fear; For terrifying and intolerable and beyond the bounds of words Is the memory of thine impartial and inevitable tribunal,. Where I, the condemned, shall be rebuked, O creator of heaven and earth; Moreover that there is no remedy even For the many-perilled severity of mine incurable wounds From the bites and stings of the deadly fangs of the mouths Of those who hunt my soul down to perdition.

Especially that, according to the teller of parables, There is no rejoinder on the day of battle; And no justification with words; No protection with cloaks; And no disguise with masks; No approach with flatteries; And never any deception with pretences; No lies with fabricated words; No escape with fleet; No turning of backs; No application of faces unto the ground; No fastening of mouths unto the soil; No hiding in the depths of the earth. For naked unto thee are the covered, And Manifest the invisible; My righteousness is abated and totally vanished; My sins are discovered and ever augmented; My crimes are permanent, and I am lost; My weight of justice is wanting, And of injustice, grown heavy forthwith; The fruit of my good deeds hath melted away, And my faults have turned into stone; The deposit is lost; And even now my sentence is sealed; The death-warrant hath been inscribed And the testament of good tidings destroyed.

And thus, be exalted anew with this remembrance, O venerated Lord, Who possesses everything, And from whom cometh everything, And into whom be rendered glory from all. And I do not seek thy forgiveness Through the smallness of the human mind, But, from the inexhaustible plenitude, O Savior, Jesus Christ, Do I implore for thy philanthropy: For there was a time when I did not exist, And thou createdst me; I did not beseech thee for a wish, And thou fulfilledst it; I had not come into the light, And thou didst see me; I had not yet appeared,.

And thou tookest pity upon me; I had not invokes thee. And thou tookest care of me; I did not raise my hand, And thou lookedst at me; I had not entreated thee, And thou wast merciful to me I had not uttered a sound, And thou heardst me; I had not groaned, And thou lentest an ear; With prescient eyes thou sawest The crimes of my guilty self, And yet thou fashionedst me. I stretch forth in thy name, O Almighty: Restore it to its health of former days, When, in the garden of tenderness, I was wont to gather the fruit of life.

Fettered, tormented as with the withered woman, My miserable soul cannot be redressed: Bowed down with the burden of sins, The secure bonds of Satan, it stareth at the ground, That I may not receive thy celestial greeting. Bend thou down towards me, only merciful one, That thou mayest raise my humble being, A fatten rational-tree that I am. And mayest flourish my dried-up self, Into a gracious piety, in accordance with The divine words of the saintly prophet. Like unto the man born blind, deprived of light, I am devoid of the sense of sight, Whereby to look at thy face, O creator, And pray, O mighty most merciful one,.

That thou who the sole protector, Mayest turn the solicitous glance Of thine ineffable love towards me, Who am thy breathing and talking vessel. And from naught, create light within me. Like unto the woman, who, for twelve years, Had suffered severely from a sickness, I am inundated with rivers of the blood of my sins; Enveloped in thine inaccessible light, gaze from the heights, Where no hem of garment of hand-made cloth existeth, But, the spreading everywhere of the might of thy miracles. It is not to anoint with ointment That I approach the sole of thy life-giving feet, I who am culpable, as with the woman sinner, Not to offer tears from mine eyes together with my hair, But to offer mine immaculate faith, with arms raised, In true confession, with the salutation of my soul With my lips closed, I kiss the ground, Mingling my sighs with my streaming tears, I implore thee to heal my soul, The being of my soul is ruined by sin, wrecked by weakness, And the feet that support the structure of my body, That ambulate unsteadily, limping along, And which evil hath impeded, Hindering the way to the tree of life-giving fruit, Protect yet anew, O thou the only one able to rescue.

With the great compassion of thy sensitive soul, And thou didst heal the man in the Gospel, Grant unto me the wondrous benevolence of thy living word, That I way enjoy an unfaltering-speech. I have fallen from my wrong-doings Upon the couch of sickness, the bed of sins, As a living corpse, talking, though dead. Take pity upon my misery and plaintive groans, O munificent Son of God, With the dew of thy blessed eyes restore me to life, As thou didst thine inanimate friend from the dead.

Verily, embittered in the dungeon of sins am I perplexed: Extend thy hand and draw me up unto thy radiant light, O thou sun without shadow, O thou the Son of the Most High! With the window of Nain, dolefully wailing for her only son, Beating her breast, her fingers trembling, Tears streaming down her face afflicted with grief, I implore thee also with my final lamentation: Give me, who am in despair, encouragement With thy words of consolation and compassion, Saying unto me also, O kind, laudable creator of the word:.

Weep not, O most sorrowful slave! With the possessed, rendered exceeding fierce, Tormented by devils and stoning one another. Oppressed and pitiful creatures, With their hair horribly disheveled, With their savage faces, and their raving: Unto them wast thou compassionate, O Savior of all, Like unto them, will I have recourse unto thee.

Speechless | Writer's Digest

Repel from my tabernacle that is thine And reject the legions of corrupt evil-doers, That thy good Spirit may come and rest therein; Fill my body with a pure breath and clothe my limbs, Render me vise who am most miserably insane, With the enslaved, banished soul living in hell, Am I also imprisoned and remain in peril: Radiate the beam of compassion from thy glory, O thou the light of mine anguish. Set me free from the bonds of the destroyer, rescue me!

The multiple forms of various types of fatal diseases, With their particular products perdition And their offshoots of malignant roots, That have settled in the field of mine iniquitous body, Extirpate them with thine omnipotent hand, Thou who ever ploughed and tillest the lands of soul, That thy word of life may become fruitful.

But thou, O merciful benefactor, Blessed and forbearing, immortal king,. Hearken unto the pitiful supplications From my heart which is in peril, That I invoke unto thee, O Lord, in my distress! Elegy 80 Words unto God from the Depths of My Heart 1 And now, upon so much despondency, And such terrible faint-heartedness, Upon the fearful vehemence of divine wrath, With a grievous soul in total torment, I beseech thee, O holy Mother of God!

Thou art an angel from humans, A cherub of bodily form, A celestial as the air, Pure as the light, Immaculate as the image of Venus aloft, Exceeding the untrod abode of the Holiest, Thou, the blissful promised place, The living Eden, The tree of immortal life Contained by the flaming sword, Thou, fortified and protected by the Father Most High, Prepared and purified by the Spirit settled upon thee, Embellished and turned into a tabernacle By the habitation of the Son: The only-begotten of the Father and thy firstborn, Thy son by birth and thy Lord by creation.

With thine unsullied and unstained purity thou art good, With thine immaculate holiness, a guardian advocate. Receive this prayer of supplication that I avow unto thee And present, proffer it, mingled with my former words Of invocation eulogizing thy greatness. Weave, unite my bitter laments of a sinner With thy felicitous and incense-laden entreaties, O thou, plant of the life of the blessed fruit: That ever aided and favored by thee, Sheltered and illumined by thy holy maternity, I may live for Christ, thy Son and Lord.

Make thou my day of anguish into a feast of joy, Thou who art the healer of the pangs of Eve. Intercede, implore, entreat, For as I believe in thine ineffable purity, So also do I, in the acceptance of thy peril, Thou who art lauded amongst women. Go down upon thy knees for my conciliation, O thou, the Mother of God! Be solicitous unto me who am miserable, O tabernacle of the Most High! Extend a hand unto me who have fallen, O celestial temple! Glorify thy Son in thee, That he may divinely perform unto me A miracle of atonement and compassion, O handmaid and Mother of God, That thine honor be augmented through me, And my redemption be manifested through thee!

O thou joyfulness; If thou invigoratest me who am crushed, O thou remedy of life; If thou castest a glance upon me who am ruined, O thou full of the Holy Spirit; If thou meetest me with compassion, O thou consecrated legacy: Thou art blessed but by immaculate lips, With fortunate tongues: Now a single drop of thy milk of virginity, Raining upon me, giveth me life and strength, O thou Mother of the Most High Lord, Jesus, Creator of heaven and all the earth, To whom thou gavest birth ineffably In his whole body and entire divinity, He who is glorified with the Father and the Holy Ghost, In essence and inscrutability, united with our nature, He who is all, and in all, He who is one of the Trinity, Glory unto him For ever and ever.

The chariot is sent from the mountain Massis and in it are benches. And in it also a golden throne. And on the throne, vermilion brocade. And on the brocade the son of the king. And on his right, seraphim with six wings. And on the left, cherubim with wide eyes. And in front, perfect children holding the cross of the Lord. And also in their hands, psalms and lyres. And they are singing praises: Glory to the all-conquering, resurrection Christ. The small chariot comes.

It comes to a stop. And it does not move now. The wheels of the chariot do not turn. On the chariot we see one hundred stalks of iris, six rows of honey lotus and one small bouquet of violets. From the right slopes of the mountain the small chariot halts. It does not move. The wheels do not turn. Shafts of the chariot are silver, the yoke is gold and the reins are silk.

The straps are studded with pearls and the small chariot does not move. The peasant driver is young and skillful. He is lithe and strong of arm. He is blond and wide shouldered. His voice is forceful. He is shouting at the oxen And calling from the small chair. If the oxen are amber and white, they are decked with flowers. Their feet are swift. Their horns are like crosses decked with pearls. And the small chariot starts to move. The wheels turn, the shaft pulls the heart of the chariot. And the boy urges the oxen onward. The chariot is the second low of Moses in Sinai And the hundred stalks of iris are the elders and prophets.

The six rows of honey lotus are the six days of work of God. And the one bouquet of violets is the unified trinity. And the blond boy is John the Baptist. And the four benches of the chariot, The gospels of Christ. The chariot advances, coming rumbling, roaring, from the right slopes of Massis. And the clattering creaking chariot enters Jerusalem and the sons of the new Zion sing, sing Glory to the resurrection of Christ. Her smooth arms arched over her head, she sings Sweetly, pleasingly, harmoniously; Ever weaving melody into melody,. Her mouth, fashioned as two leaves, spills roses from its lips, Her tongue is tuneful as a harp; Her braided beautiful hair, adorned with rosemary, Takes on the dark hue of life-giving wine.

Her lovely hair, her lovely thrice-plaited hair, Ever tenderly frames her face. Her bright bosom is strewn with red roses, Her wrists garlanded with sprays of purple violets. With a holy fire, the censer gives up its perfume, Its chains echoing melodious sounds. She is dressed in a shimmering cloak— Lovely, blue, gem laced, and golden— In a tunic brilliant with gold. Her belt of shining silver, edged with gilt, Sapphire encrusted, was worked into arabesques; When she moves, her motions are bright; Light sparkles around her feet.

In the bouquet of many-hued roses Blooms a rainbow of vivid buds, And in the cypress and poplar trees Life-flushed branches move free, And among the cypress shoots The rose blossoms out and tints the lily. The lily shimmers against the sun, The northern breeze Fans the gemlike lily, The sweet air from the southern hills Gently dews the lily, The lily is laden with dew,.

With soft and beaming rays. All the flowers glow with dew, As the dew from the clouds, the clouds from the sun. Receptacle of unfathomable and invisible Existence And mirrors reflecting rays from sundry sources, Rivers ever rushing with majestic miraculous noise, Which rages round the heavenly host like the spacious sea And makes the Incomprehensible appear within the comprehensible, Bearing the glory of the Almighty: I now beseech you, four-faced beings, That you might manifest yourself to me too in some splendid act, Making me perpetually perfect like the first-created one.

Racing rapidly to and fro in the depths and in the heights, His Divine cords spawning speech And webs of golden visions, He hold all-entwined In His Eternal Hand all beings; He Who walks upon the waters Brings out of the barren and boundless sea Bounteous bodies and breaths, And from amongst them He selects some To share in your blessed brotherhood; And that which was insubstantial takes on bodily substance, And in human from He perfect praise.

And now, I beseech you, four-faced beings, By the power of the holy figure you bear up, Preserve in my soul the image of the Lord forever. The fence around the orchard Which contains the golden-foliaged tree And its likewise golden fruit Is entered by a narrow pathway. And secured by seraphic sentries, That only the guiltless might go in, To be fed at the font of your fourfold mysteries And blossom, forth on the burgeoning branch: Heirs of the Father Almighty And co-inheritors with Christ.

And now with lively and logical limbs, I beseech you, four-faced beings, I beseech you, four-faced beings, To accept me into your godly garden, And graft me with my like That I might be fruitful and flourish For ever and ever more. Hacikyan et al. They were lost in contemplation, as they waited for the Coming. It opened wide the roof of the temple where they were And the life-giving and all-powerful Holy Spirit descended; He Who encompasses all space and bears the highest name; The Source of the Creator of all beings; He Who with the Father and the Son is adorned by the angels, The there Holy Persons Who constitute one Godhead, One eternal reign, honor, and glory.

Upon His arrival, they were filled with fire, And each began to speak in other tongues For devout men of every nation were there This happened seven weeks after Holy Easter.

Speechless. -- A Quiet Kind of Thunder

At the third hour of the Pentecost day. Filled with the Holy Spirit, they began to preach. Fearless they preached before wicked crowd; And began to baptize, giving us hope of resurrection. They went forth and sowed, spreading the living word; Light filled the world and darkness was dispersed. They laid the foundation of the Church and built up Holy Zion, Mother of all who have been born again. Others followed Zoroaster, and worshiped fire at their altars;. Still others, including some Chaldeans, the stars, And others still were enthralled by the black brotherhood of birds; There were also those who worshiped mice and placed them on their altars; Some adored the oak and bowed down to the aspen; Others offered gifts to plain trees and gloomy darkness.

All these they did away with as they brought the dawn of light; The true word that they taught booth flourished and expanded. Everyone sullied his own road, And the country was filled with impiety. Justice declined and licentiousness increased. The people and the priests broke their word to God. For this reason foreign peoples Alienated us from our habitation And turned our glory to ruin. No breath remained within us, And we became lost through our despair. Death grew strong and swallowed us. Thus did generation succeed generation, And the animating breath of life was reduced. Those who were settled in the land Migrated a second time, in their exile, And were banished by rebellious exiles.

Those who were torn from their loves ones, If not slain by the sword, Were dispersed like erratic stars. In our day, wars sprang up on all sides: The sword in the East, slaughter in the West, Fire in the North, and death in the South. The sounds of the lyre were silenced, The beating of the drum was silenced, And cries of woe arose… -Robert Bedrosian.

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May the Great be preached by the small and His excellent art made know. In species you are a winged bird to us, sprung from the waters with those of your genus. But in appearance you are classified among the paltry and insignificant Among those same you are sluggish and in beauty inelegant, In stature most contemptible, in final place among the denizens of the air. Moreover, you are called indignant and improvident along the rest, Negligent and inactive, as we have been taught by Christ.

But in your person you are well-trained, your personality intact in all respects. Wise and prudent, just and brave-hearted, While in art you are a musician with every device, yet without a teacher. Self-sufficient and self-taught, living in the rough outside cities. Not close, yet close, delighting those who love to hear, Mellifluous harmonizer as I consider you according, Imperious and wheedling, inculcating paraenesis, Threatening and mild of speech, caressing, beckoning and turning away, Shrieking and wailing, right rollicking and convivial.


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So also the night is as day to you and darkness as the light, Lover of vigils perpetually at worship, like the incorporeal ones, Enthusiastic in exertion and relaxing by toil, Filled with the meagrest necessities like a body that fasts. Sustained by music, as possessed by that capacity, Concerned only with songs in company with supernal creation. You are an unwritten law for hermits and censure of the Lazy.

Not in one respect, but in all, as we saw in your preludes. O tireless singer and dancer of many tunes, Insignificant, yet imposing, lacking honour, yet glorified, In you there lies a wonderful mystery for those the Lord selected from the world. But you did not assume that power by which tongues talk with ease. You did not enter the upper room with those invited o the good news.

So how is it you speak to those of foreign tongue and intimates? Come teach me, a half-baked sophist, so that I may learn,. Do not make the excuse of irrationality, you recite in articulate speech. Teach me with disconnected speech and accept me as pupil. Then I can repay you for learning wisdom By delivering you a panegyric which I will leave after me inviolate, Well-composed to endure without obliteration for time to come, Stimulating and elegant, from which those attaining wisdom may gain some profit. B The chick responds: See I heard and comprehended what you thought and spoke.

Now you big us relate how it is you have wisdom in you, In such a manner that speech emerges in order Without disruption or stumbling though what I omit is immense. I did not sin, I did not die, I did not lose what I had obtained. I preserved my heritage and did not experience an indemnity. I did not build a tower, to multiply my sins, Nor will I receive punishment like you rational creatures.

The one lip and language was divided in pluriform ways, Evil wills dispelled the unity by that means, For many share a unity, similarly reprehensible, To reciprocate in the unnatural, so that sins accrue. Whereas I stayed in the natural sphere, whose bounty is revelation Which they lost through one, they will gain through its opposites. So also the other aspects of the economy by which we survived death Renewed us with the means to oppose errors.

The mellifluous bird said this was the source of the Many-toned melodies, when we asked it. Though there is unity among the many, still there is alienation of the one. The abandonment of the natural out of error towards things more elevated. Similarly, the punishments are from nature, as we know. I learned through persistence, after many years. For I kept vigil all day and throughout the night. Out of yearning for wisdom and love of understanding. This it said and established it as the seal of its case. It admonished us directly and soared in the air.

It perched on the eminence of a branch, voicing its ancestral call. It wearied me with its clamor and I gained no profit from contemplation. I was exasperated and elates, besieged between both, I summoned it by name and spoke in judgement. I Interrogated and examined, but was trounced in its victory. I addressed the sinless one which was more skilled than me in speech.

With opposed voice it strove to beat me stealthily in contention. By confusing my thoughts you render my pursuit unprofitable. You feel my ears with disturbance and my mind with vain distraction. Therefore, my heart is wrested from me, not remaining with me, It rushed out as it through orifices, encountering no impediment at all. I hasten to find you forget what I have found. I am deprived of beneficial discourses to gain you who are unprofitable. I come and sit in the desert here to benefit in quietude, I will speak up and understand and not suffer in vain, Nor strive unprofitably with empty wisdom, Eliciting the manifold harm which occurs among mankind.

You annoy me tirelessly as if you have born some grievance for me. You prosecute, you exclaim as is customary for the oppressed. You accuse me terribly before the judge as tribunal. Or is that you consider me an enemy fighting with you as a foreigner? I complain about the one I love, for I suffer here what I told you. I am also exercised about this, that I accuse you with a writ Spending all my time copying by hand a complaint against you, Forgetting the important things by which both soul and body have life.

Obstructing those near them from attaining the means of becoming wise, Union with the great and illustrious, as well as the celestial hosts. Now I never recognized myself as being directed to what I told you, But I complain all the more for the enmity to come to light, As those judged at a tribunal are wont to do, So that their words gain effect and can win the case.

D Concerning the fur coat which was spoilt by ink. But tell me knowledgeably what I ask you in counsel. For it is appropriate for the accused to calumniate the prosecutor, If you are of the same genus as the nightingale, swallow or cicada Why do you not have a perch in the desert like them? They too are musicians, but desired the desert. They adorn the open spaces with harmonious melodies.

Few have had an opportunity to hear those sweet-toned concerts. They were praised and caressed by those who heard their sweet syllables. But they are inferior against those whose gifts are natural. For the skill they employ in this art they do not obtain from nature.

You too are one of those whose story you have heard, Sharing their profession and fame, as your results hear witness. But you lack one thing; you did not fancy living with them And did not fashion roosts for yourself where they dwell. Instead you come sit next to me as if my colleague in art. You sing and dance to an instrument of many tones-.

The metre of Homeric lays which are familiar to many, As well as virtuosic verses in the style of learned poets, Or even surpassing them, as it seems to me who know about such things For training and education do not come close to nature. E The fowl replies to the Vardapet in accusation. It turned and replied to all that I had said, It retorted in rhapsody more quickly than what it had heard.

It informed me with assurance in powerful declamation The Meaning me with assurance in powerful declamation The meaning behind the mystery of our symbiosis. It said, you are not justified in your words of slander against us. You complained unreasonably about things I am not guilty of. Just listen in turn to what I have to say in my judgement. This world to which you were exiled belongs to both me and you, Yet is your domestic property inasmuch as it was your dwelling. It was entrusted to us by the Creator as a place of learning and growth, Accommodated to our needs according to our composition.

You forfeited your own as a penalty for transgression against the Creator, You lusted after divinity and lost what you had. Ascending to heaven, you slithered near hell. Endeavouring to enrich yourselves, you became indigent and poor, Reaching up to the sublime, you perished in the nether regions.

Pressing forward to great glory, you fell beck here with us, You forgot what the Creator said and acquiesced to the slandered. Though under the law, you acted lawlessly and were condemned under a curse. Not remaining there in sinlessness, you became wardens of countless evils. Losing justice, you discovered a plethora of sins. You, masters, became slaves to passions through flavoring the murderer.

We, your servants, revolted fro, you as you from the Lord, Thorns and thistles confronted you, because you did not love gentleness. The death sentence was your recompense for not relishing a life of integrity. Enmity against the Beloved arose in you who revolted against the Father of love. Returning to earth was your lot in that you destroyed the image, Your foot was culled from the ground as for us earth-dwellers, Our frugal animal fare became yours who did not appreciate what befitted you, Symbiosis with us for you who did not elect to stay with God, Inequality with servants for you who celebrated inequality.

But we innocent parties were hurt because of your presumption. We came into existence for your glory and were corrupted on your account. Not only by death, but also severe buffeting. While you who have free will, we follow nature, While who have mind and reason, we are chained by irrationality. So then you encompassed perdition both for yourselves and us together, Since you must also give an account to the Creator for our penalties. Moreover, most grievous calamities hem us in on the earth. Parching heat, winter blizzards and lack if necessities, Pains and infirmities and the onset of premature death Which have increased because of sin to afflict the disobedient.

We are more bothered by these, not having roofs and cities, Neither stores stocked with abundance of what is needful, Nor medicines and doctors by which to arrest the suffering of pain, Nor succulent dainties to relieve and comfort us. And on top of everything, we feed on ourselves as on a grain. We are even consumed by each other, as you know and see. Nor it for all the sins we have enumerated above You were deprived of life and of a dwelling place of your own, Why do you blame us who never deprived anyone of any space?

We did not transgress the boundary the Creator assigned us. The deprivation is ours and resulted from you and yet you accuse us. Judge justly as the Creator commanded. Truly it spoke this in conformity with events, Presenting the elements of its case with wisdom By which we sophists and supposed poets are trounced, Admonished in silence, dispensing with long speeches. I am utterly confounded And unable even to begin to describe it; I am incapable of putting it into words. Again I am forced to remain silent- I am not up to itBut it gives me no rest and I can put it off no longer: Whatever I can, though partial and incomplete, I am willing to set down for everybody, And I suggest that the poets Join with me and repeat my song.

I invite me lamentations to from a procession, I pass on the words of the prophets And assemble the bearers of sad tidings, Call the women mourners, And declare a time of mourning for all Armenians; I invoke the memory of my spiritual lord, Add my tears to those of the church, And convey the destitution of the church. And now, with deep humility, I freely admit That I am desolated at the death of my master And mourn for the shepherd and the flack, But al I can offer is a few poor words.

These words, however, are not enough, Nor is the strength of my knowledge sufficient To praise this most praiseworthy man Or produce an elegy on his sepulcher. That would require Movses KhorenatsiThe ageless father of all poets, The dwellings- house of unfathomable wisdom, Just as Heaven is the dwelling-place of angelsOr any one of his rare companions, Who were endowed with the power of words And whose names caused alarm and panic Among the Greek orators.

I cannot write lucidly of one Who was with me only yesterday. Like unto the first Adam, Who for his sins is called the Old Through whom we all have to die, And have lost that which is desirable; Alas, I have sinned like unto him And transgressed like undo mother Eve, And I have even exceeded them both In the trespassing of the Holy Law. For they had but one commandment Concerning a single bitter fruit;. Whereas I have been preached many About numerous ones that lead to death: These I have been ordered to avoid, That I may not meet my death, Whereas I remain bound to them By bonds of sin, as it hath been told.

I opened mine ears unto the deceiver And listened unto the evil serpent; I gave my reply with my tongue Senselessly unto the cunning one; I fixed mine eyes upon the desirable, That the word of command hath forbidden; My feet followed in haste the course That led me close unto the tree of death; My hand had stretched unto the branch To pluck the deadly fruit for myself: And my mouth savoured its taste of honey, But in my belly it turned into bitter bile; From it there gushed the venom of dragons And the fetid odour that brings death; It flooded my heart with filth And my kidneys with feverish disease.

Instead of the delights of life in paradise In the manner of the sensible ones, I cultivated in mine own soul Thorns and thistles of the plant of sin. Instead of the region of a toil-free life That through hope is said to be of leisure, I eat my daily bread by the sweat of my face, And shall return unto dust whence I came. And now I supplicate like unto him: I have sinned against thee, Father in heaven; I am unworthy to be called thy son, Accept me as the lowliest of thine hirelings.

Let me wear upon my right hand, That I may not go astray once more. And as a protection against the serpent, Favor me with shoes for my feet, That it may not strike in the dark But its head may be crushed. Through the killing of the fatted calf, That is the sacrifice upon the cross And blood shed with the spear from thy side, Whence gushed the stream of life for us, Let me commune with thee once more Like unto the parable of the prodigal son, That I may eat the vivifying bead And drink from thy celestial cup.


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  • I went astray into the wilderness And wandered in the boundless region, Like unto the parable of the sheep, One out of a hundred in number; The wicked enemy tore at it And covered it with incurable wounds; There is, therefore, no remedy for them, Other then thee to heal them. I entreat in tears unto thee, I raise my voice onto my Savior: O celestial, good Shepherd, Come unto the aid of the little flock.

    Seek, O Lord, the fallen piece of silver, And thine image, that was lost, That I buried in the vice of sins And the evil-smelling filth. Wash me, O Lord, cleanse my soul Into the purity of white snow; Complete the ten pieces in number, As thou didst for the forty saints. Raise unto thy shoulder that bore the cross And elevate my fallen soul; Let the celestial host rejoice Over the soul of a single sinner.

    Together with the sacrifice of Abel Offered unto thee in sweet fragrance, Receive me also, O Lord, likewise, That I may not be scorned with Cain, Even though I did not as it befitted Present unto thee any burnt offering; For I select my share first And then thine, in sacrifice. As a consolation to the bereaved Thou didst give Seth instead of Abel, To become the descendant of the first-created And the patriarch of that righteous race. Dispel, O Lord, from me also The melancholy bereavement of sons, Which are the lot of wisdom, Children born for action; And regenerate in me once more The incorruptible seed of reason, The spiritual creation of light, Angelic and celestial.

    Let me not be like unto the son of Seth To desire the daughters of Cain, But unto the patriarch Enos, Who was the first to hope; And unto the irreproachable Enoch, He that was translated unto heaven, Who inherited the paternal inheritance, For observing the commandment: But what shall I benefit from these, Whom I do not resemble? For I do not follow in their paths, And do not ascend in spirit unto heaven: But exist fallen into profound vices, In the pit of mire, humid and dank, Thereby the terrifying abysses Have imprisoned me within them.

    Like unto the people of olden times, Who lived in the days of Noah, Who ate and drank, Who coupled like animals, Until there came the flood of waters And destroyed them all: Saving only him who had remained Chaste for five hundred years. But thou who didst save in the ark Noah and seven other souls, Together with every kind of quadruped. And birds that fly in the air, Save me also from the flood, The waves of evil that agitate the world, Within thine ark, the holy tabernacle, Sheltering me fast in its shade. Dispel from the ark of my soul The nocturnal colour of the crow, That is the likeness of the secret arrow Which flies through the darkness.

    And open thou in the heart of obscurity A window for me unto the great light, Whence the darkness born of sin Be cleared away without trace. Let in through the open skylight The golden-coloured holy dove, Which is the pure and Holy Spirit, That it may bring me the olive-branch. And it is not only through bodily sickness That I drowned my soul in the sea, But through spiritual and mental torments I have become a vessel of evil.

    Numéros en texte intégral

    Inasmuch as I was like unto those That built the tower In the great plain of Calneh In the land of Babel, In order that, if the waters of the flood Came about anew, they would be saved, Or else they may reach unto heaven, As they thought in their arrogance. Whereas a violent gale blew, The terrifying clamour of the soul, And demolished the mountain of the arrogant And the one language It confounded into seventy, That they may not unite for evil, But may scatter abroad to do good.

    Likewise I also erected A wall of the tower of sin, In my arrogance I built with stones This presumptuous edifice: Its skilful architect Was the infernal Lucifer And the workers of that evil prince Were the bands of the legion of demons; They will also collapse and be destroyed With the machines that they have made; But I shall escape from their snares As the Hebrews did of yore. As a model for thyself thou didst choose Melchizedek the Canaanite, Without a father, mother, or other kindred: He who was the priest of God, The collector of tithes, as with Levites Yet from the loins of Abraham, And he was king of Salem, Like unto thee, celestial Lord; Receive me also with his supplication Unto thy Jerusalem on high, To reign there together with thee, Like unto thy sons of Zion.

    Thou didst call with thy mighty voice Unto the patriarch of all nations, The very first Abraham, To emigrate unto a foreign land. Thou didst appear unto him at Mamre, Whilst he sat under the oak tree Thou wast nourished as though in body, Whilst thy nature was incorporeal; And thou didst promise him the son Through whom the sons of men are blessed, Foretelling thereby thine own coming, Thou who didst become incarnate from his sons, Deliver me from my tormentors, From the evils of the deceiver, From the varied ills of the oppressor, And the prison of the transgressor.

    I who in body am a foreigner In this alien terrestrial life, Translate me unto thy Fatherland, Like unto the sons of Abraham. Show thy face, O Lord, unto me Who am sitting beneath the shade, That upon rising up to meet thee I may bow myself toward the ground. Deign thou to enter mine abode, And with thee, thy Father and the Holy Spirit: And partake of fare I have That is meager in my poverty, and scant.

    From the wicked thoughts of Sodom, And from acts of immodesty: That I may not be consumed by fire Born of brimstone, like unto stone, Like unto the woman who turned toward evil. But command thou the holy angel To carry me away with them, To raise me unto the celestial mount And place me with the band that dwell there. Creator of the hearts, O Lord, thou alone Who dost see all deeds and thoughts, Didst put to the test thy beloved, To sacrifice his son unto thee; Thou didst bid him go to a high mountain At Golgotha, in accordance with thy word, Taking the wood for the burnt offering Of his only son, so pure in mind.

    There he laid him upon the alter, Like unto thee, O Lord, upon the cross, He stretched forth his hand, took the knife, And brought it high unto his throat, When a voice called out from above: Lay not thine hand upon that lad, But behold upon thy right A ram caught in a thicket, Which, in the stead of thy servant Isaac, He who is endowed with reason, Offer thou as a sacrificial offering The beast created with no reasoning power. Do not test me, O Lord, like unto him: I who am not yet tested by favors, I who am tested by evil instead, And am impatient when tested.

    Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

    For I am neither silver nor gold, When tested by fire in a crucible; But am the tin alloyed with lead, That both perish when thus assayed. And I am not a rock beside the sea That stands unshaken against the waves; Nor am I the deep roots of trees That are not torn out by gales. But I am like unto a wrecked ship, Tossed about upon the high seas; But I am like unto a wrecked ship, Tossed about upon the high seas; Or the withered grass lashed away By the strong autumnal winds. Now do not lead me into temptation,. Thou who dost not tempt the earth-born; For though thou art not tempted with evil, We ourselves are tempted, as it is told.

    But hasten thou to deliver me From the temptations of the tyrant, Like unto the father of the faithful From the snares of the tempter. That I may sacrifice joyfully My body, my soul, and my mind, As a living victim unto thee, Immortal One, pleasing, holy, and divine. Thou didst show the future unto him With a ladder set up from earth to heaven, Above which the Lord stood watching And the angels ascended and descended on it.

    He poured oil upon the top of the stone And called it the house of God, In the likeness of the great mystery That holy men have revealed; And he wrestled throughout the night, As it is written in the Holy Scriptures, Resisting until the break of day, Though he was overcome in body. Now, I am the junior in good deeds, But fully-grown in evil ones: Like unto Esau, who was born the first, But in soul, he was the last.

    I sold such priceless treasures That I may gratify my belly. And voluntarily erased myself From the first-born inscribed in heaven. Implore thee, O Lord on high, O thou Prince of the celestial choir, May the gates of heaven open unto me also, As they did at that time unto Israel. O raise up me fallen soul Through the ladder formed of light, Brought as an example of how men May return from earth unto heaven. With the fragrant oil to anoint the soul, That I lost when deceived by the evil one, Anoint my head once more With thy protective right hand.

    I cannot resist against thy strength. In wrestling like unto Jacob: For even with my weak self I fell into the hands of the evil one. Extend thy celestial right hand: Come unto mine aid in my combat And demolish mine enemy, That he may never rise to his feet again. Sons were born unto the patriarch To become the twelve tribal chiefs; And eleven of them did betray Joseph, Delivering him unto the Ismaelites, They sold their own brother For thirty pieces of silver, Like unto thy very disciple, That was stealthy, treacherous Judas.

    But thou, who in spite of everything, Didst rescue Joseph from the hopeless place, Deliver me also, O Lord, like unto him, From the various vices of evil: Do not deliver me unto the lewd harlot, Unto the lecherous Egyptian woman; That which creepeth like unto a serpent And roareth like unto a lion. But elevate me above them And make me ruler of the land of Egypt, That I may vanquish the evil prince, That is the invisible tyrant. And when they come to die of starvation, Turn me into the house of the bread of life; That I may distribute it and satiate Those that yearn for the immortal word.

    Let me call to mind the blessed Job, He who is worthy of remembrance: Even though he is of the sons of Esau, Yet he is superior to those of Jacob; He who is greatly praised by thee And testified to be a good man: That perfect in every way. When the evil enemy did slander him And sought to have him tried by calamity, Thou didst give unto him the power, That thy servant may be revealed. First, his rich possessions, his cattle, And his other animals, were all destroyed; Then, his ten children were killed As they sad tidings reached unto him He did not utter a word of complaint, But instead blessed the from his soul: He said, the Lord gave rich possessions, And the Lord hath taken away at will; He came out naked from the womb, And shall enter naked unto the tomb.

    He obtained what he had requested, But did not attain what he desired; Instead, his devouring fang was crushed As against iron or copper. For he afflicted him with a terrible disease And covered his body with worms; Job sat putrefied among the ashes And scraped his boils with a potsherd. His friends who went unto him, Vexed the blessed man with words; Moreover, did his foolish wife, Like into Eve, seek to tempt him.

    Yet all these trials did not shake The adamantine rock of his faith And make him utter words of blasphemy Against thee, O Lord, who art so benign. Instead, he rendered thanks unto thee, And opposed all their utterances, Until the combat reached its end And the struggle was fulfilled. Thou didst appear through the clouds, O Lord, And didst speak unto thy beloved one; Thou gavest a crown unto the victor.

    And health unto him who was sorely ill. Thou didst grant unto him anew Animals of the dumb variety, And awarded unto the same solitary one Beings that are endowed with reason. And this hidden mystery profound Is thereby revealed in advance: That those who die do not perish But shall rise again on the final day. For I am weak and my body is infirm, My spirit is ready, but it will not move: My soul is dark and my mind obscure; Voluntarily I lie in the deep dungeon. What is man?

    A worm. Ashes and dust. An unreal dream. He has left; lo! He is gone; He has disappeared; he has found peace. Death comes to those who have faltered And to those who shall; Even the huge and invincible lion, Omnipotent, renowned, and most horrifying, Has who was famous and visible Has become invisible; He who was born is now As of he had not been born; He who was firmest of all Has now become nothing; He who enclosed others Has now been enclosed; He who bound others Has now been bound.

    He now goes where the bearers take him. At the moment of death All thoughts disappear And the divine chastisers Take the soul and ascend. And you will rejoice over them, O Jerusalem. More glorious than ever, O Jerusalem,. It is neither fertilizer nor cement. In this world of wounded hearts your words are balm and cheer How often In days to come will we sigh for this day that we are in one place.

    Blessed are his tears that whiten his soul like soap. Otherwise lie will be like waiting for the wedding day that arrives without a bride.

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