Waking on the Seventh Day of Creation,
They cautiously sniffed the air:
The most fastidious nostril among them admitted
That fellow was no longer there.
Herbivore, parasite, predator scouted,
Migrants flew fast and far--
Not a trace of his presence: holes in the earth,
Beaches covered with tar,
Ruins and metallic rubbish in plenty
Were all that was left of him
Whose birth on the Sixth had made of that day
An unnecessary interim.
Well, that fellow had never really smelled
Like a creature who would survive:
No grace, address or faculty like those
Born on the First Five.
Back, then, at last on a natural economy,
Now His Impudence was gone,
Looking exactly like what it was,
The Seventh Day went on,
Beautiful, happy, perfectly pointless....
A rifle's ringing crack
Split their Arcadia wide open, cut
Their Sabbath nonsense short.
For whom did they think they had been created?
That fellow was back,
More bloody-minded than they remembered,
More god-like than they thought.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Since I study the intersections of sacred space (Sanctuary) and sacred time (Sabbath) in ancient Jewish and Christian literature, I am often attracted to their invocations in modern literature as well. Paul Celan, for example, often talks about the Sabbath in his poetry. Here is a meditation by W.H. Auden: