Like an Orb

What am I known for? Tonight, I am putting apple-orbs in trees. Tomorrow I will put books on stumps. Sometime soon, there will be a remaking, inasmuch as there is ever a remaking.

I
The essential poem at the center of things,
The arias that spiritual fiddlings make,
Have gorged the cast-iron of our lives with good
And the cast-iron of our works. But it is, dear sirs,
A difficult apperception, this gorging good,
Fetched by such slick-eyed nymphs, this essential gold,
This fortune’s finding, disposed and re-disposed
By such slight genii in such pale air.

II
We do not prove the existence of the poem.
It is something seen and known in lesser poems.
It is the huge, high harmony that sounds
A little and a little, suddenly,
By means of a separate sense.
It is and it Is not and, therefore, is. In the instant of speech,
The breadth of an accelerando moves,
Captives the being, widens–and was there.

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The breath of an accelerando moves

What magical things are hands. What magical things are apples. We learn they are a forbidden fruit. We learn they keep the doctor away. We know that inside them there are five points. We know they may grant immortality. We know wands made from apple wood are superior. But these hands, my hands, now turn to the enrichment of places already established, the growing, the fruitfulness of it all.

And I, like so many magical beings, am full of surprises. Of course, you may see me as an apple-giver, and you will think, ‘O, it is too early for apples’, but this is Faery and I like apples. Summer at its height is the first breath of autumn, after all, and why then not be ready?

III
What milk there is in such captivity,
What wheaten bread and oaten cake and kind,
Green guests and table in the woods and songs
At heart, within an instant’s motion, within
A space grown wide, the inevitable blue
Of secluded thunder, an illusion, as it was,
Oh as, always too heavy for the sense
To seize, the obscurest as, the distant was…

IV
One poem proves another and the whole,
For the clairvoyant men that need no proof:
The lover, the believer and the poet,
Their words are chosen out of their desire,
The joy of language, when it is themselves.
With these they celebrate the central poem,
The fulfillment of fulfillments, in opulent,
Las terms, the largest, bulging still with more,

With growth comes distance; this is a lesson I have learned and taught, a lesson I am always learning, always teaching. And so today I have said goodbye to some things once and still beloved but no longer well-used, no longer well-useful.

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The distant was

You will miss the treehouse, and so will I. But in its place there will be something glorious; I can feel it growing in my spirit much like these very early, very ripe apples. You will wonder why the music shop is no longer visible: don’t worry; there will always be music in Awenia. What will you find in its place? Only the most beautiful and desperate longing for music itself, singing through the heartbeat of the world and of our Realm.

V
Until the used-to earth and sky, and the tree
And cloud, the used-to tree and used-to cloud,
Lose the old uses that they made of them,
And they: these men, and earth and sky, inform
Each other by sharp informations, sharp,
Free knowledges, secreted until then,
Breaches of that which held them fast.
It is As if the central poem became the world,

VI
And the world the central poem, each one the mate
Of the other, as if summer was a spouse,
Espoused each morning, each long afternoon,
And the mate of summer: her mirror and her look,
Her only place and person, a self of her
That speaks, denouncing separate selves, both one.
The essential poem begets the others. The light
Of it is not a light apart, up-hill.

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The light of it

But do not be overly concerned: creation is change and flux, and I am a creatrix. I am never tearing down but always rebuilding. I am watching the light reflecting from the great oak in the book meadow and seeing how it slants through the door to the fairytale forest. And beyond that, I am watching as the deeper myths weave a path and a pattern so much deeper and more twisted. Like these boughs, they harden and twist, they grow stories, and magic is in them at their very core.

VII
The central poem is the poem of the whole,
The poem of the composition of the whole,
The composition of blue sea and of green,
Of blue light and of green, as lesser poems,
And the miraculous multiplex of lesser poems,
Not merely into a whole, but a poem of
The whole, the essential compact of the parts,
The roundness that pulls tight the final ring

VIII
And that which in an altitude would soar,
A vis, a principle or, it may be,
The meditation of a principle,
Or else an inherent order active to be
Itself, a nature to its natives all
Beneficence, a repose, utmost repose,
The muscles of a magnet aptly felt,
A giant, on the horizon, glistening,

IX
And in bright excellence adorned, crested
With every prodigal, familiar fire,
And unfamiliar escapades: whirroos
And scintillant sizzlings such as children like,
Vested in the serious folds of majesty,
Moving around and behind, a following,
A source of trumpeting seraphs in the eye,
A source of pleasant outbursts on the ear.

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A Source

Please, take an apple. They’re delicious. And sustaining. And they came from my meadow. They are created of only love, which is the most beautiful and twisted thing ever made and lived. I am no evil stepmother, and so there is no poison here, only story, and story never ends. Like stories, they are immortal. Like stories, I am immortal. And who knows—after just one taste, you may never be hungry again. Or, you may always be hungry. These two things are the same, after all.

X
It is a giant, always, that is evolved,
To be in scale, unless virtue cuts him, snips
Both size and solitude or thinks it does,
As in a signed photograph on a mantelpiece.
But the virtuoso never leaves his shape,
Still on the horizon elongates his cuts,
And still angelic and still plenteous,
Imposes power by the power of his form.

The sun is rising over the Book Forest as I give these words to you, words heard once and then forgotten but never forgotten.

XI
Here, then, is an abstraction given head,
A giant on the horizon, given arms,
A massive body and long legs, stretched out,
A definition with an illustration, not
Too exactly labeled, a large among the smalls
Of it, a close, parental magnitude,
At the center of the horizon, concentrum, grave
And prodigious person, patron of origins.

The sun is rising over the Book Forest as I offer you these apples, apples made from love and grown from the infinite well of story. Both these things, love and story, are without beginning and without end.

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Ever Changing

XII
That’s it. The lover writes, the believer hears,
The poet mumbles and the painter sees,
Each one, his fated eccentricity,
As a part, but part, but tenacious particle,
Of the skeleton of the ether, the total
Of letters, prophecies, perceptions, clods
Of color, the giant of nothingness, each one
And the giant ever changing, living in change.

—Wallace Stevens, ‘A Primitive Like an Orb’

Notes & Credits
Poem: Wallace Stevens, ‘A Primitive Like an Orb’. Modern poetry may not be your bag, but go back and read it anyway. Really. Read it like prose, out loud, don’t pause at the end of a line unless you feel it’s necessary; this is iambic, in the rhythm of human speech, and read it again. Wallace Stevens was an attorney and a business executive. He worked in the American insurance industry. And he got into a fistfight with Ernest Hemingway once. There’s a story that might be apocryphal— the year he died, Stevens was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. And at his funeral, it’s widely believed that one of the men he worked with was heard to say, “Really? I didn’t even know Wally wrote poetry.”

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Top of the City

“Top of the City” by Kate Bush; YouTube link below.

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One More Step

One more step to the top of the city
Where just a couple of pigeons are living
Up on the angel’s shoulders
I don’t know if I’m closer to Heaven but
It looks like Hell down there
These streets have never been paved with gold
Welcome to the loneliest city in the world
It’s no good for you baby
It’s no good for you now
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Keep Looking Up

Keep looking up for the ladder

I don’t know if you’ll love me for it
But I don’t think we should suffer this
There’s just one thing we can do about it
Take me up to the top of the city
Take me up to the top of the city
Take me up to the top of the city
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The Angel’s Shoulders

And put me up on the angel’s shoulders

See how that building there is nearly built
There’s a big fire over on the north of the city
I see you walking down the street with her
I see your lights going on and off
She’s no good for you baby
She’s no good for you now
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Here With The Ladder

Look I’m here with the ladder

I don’t know if you love me or not
But I don’t think we should ever suffer
There’s just one thing we can do about this
Take me up to the top of the city
Take me up to the top of the city
Up to the highest point of the city
One more step to the top of the city
Put me up on the angel’s shoulders
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I Don’t Mind If It’s Dangerous; I Don’t Mind If It’s Raining

And I don’t mind if it’s dangerous
I don’t mind if it’s raining
Take me to the top of the city
And put me up on the angel’s shoulders
Take me to the top of the city
Mmm yes, one more step to the top of the city
And put me up on the angel’s shoulders
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Mm, Yes

 

Notes & Credits:
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