An Art Of Poetry


To Vincent Buckley

Since all our keys are lost or broken,
Shall it be thought absurd
If for an art of words I turn
Discreetly to the Word?

Drawn inward by his love, we trace
Art to its secret springs:
What, are we masters in Israel
And do not know these things?

Lord Christ from out his treasury
Brings forth things new and old:
We have those treasures in earthen vessels,
In parables he told,

And in the single images
Of seed, and fish, and stone,
Or, shaped in deed and miracle,
To living poems grown.

Scorn then to darken and contract
The landscape of the heart
By individual, arbitrary
And self-expressive art.

Let your speech be ordered wholly
By an intellectual love;
Elucidate the carnal maze
With clear light from above.

Give every image space and air
To grow, or as bird to fly;
So shall one grain of mustard-seed
Quite overspread the sky.

Let your literal figures shine
With pure transparency:
Not in opaque but limpid wells
Lie truth and mystery.

And universal meanings spring
From what the proud pass by:
Only the simplest forms can hold
A vast complexity.

We know, where Christ has set his hand
Only the real remains:
I am impatient for that loss
By which the spirit gains.

 

James McAuley (1917–1976)

Somos Un Pueblo Que Camina

Somos un pueblo que camina, y juntos caminando podremos alcanzar
Otra ciudad que no se acaba, sin penas ni tristezas, ciudad de eternidad.
Somos un pueblo que camina, que marcha por el mundo, buscando otra ciudad;
Somos errantes peregrinos en busca de un destino, destino de unidad
Siempre seremos caminantes, pues solo caminando podremos alcanzar
Otra ciudad que no se acaba, sin penas ni tristezas, ciudad de eternidad . . . 
Sufren los hombres mis hermanos, buscando entre las piedras la parte de su pan
Sufren los hombres oprimidos, los hombres que no tienen ni paz ni libertad
Sufren los hombres mis hermanos, más tu vienes con ellos y en ti alcanzarán
otra ciudad que no se acaba, sin penas ni tristezas, ciudad de eternidad . . .

ALTERNATE EXTRA VERSES (version 2)

Danos valor siempre constante, valor en las tristezas, valor en nuestro afán.
Danos la luz de tu Palabra, que guía nuestros pasos en este caminar.
Marcha, Señor, junto a nosotros, pues sólo en tu presencia podremos alcanzar
Otra ciudad que no se acaba, sin penas ni tristezas, ciudad de eternidad.

Dura se hace nuestra marcha, andando entre las sombras
De tanta oscuridad, todos los cuerpos desgastados
Ya sienten el cansancio de tanto caminar.
Pero tenemos la esperanza de que nuestras fatigas al fin alcanzarán,
Otra ciudad que no se acaba, sin penas ni tristeza, ciudad de eternidad.

Eighteen Hundred And Thirty

Sarah Josepha Hale (1788–1879)

We bring no earthly wreath for Time;
To man th’immortal Time was given—
Years should be marked by deeds sublime,
That elevate his soul to heaven.
Thou proudly passing year—thy name
Is registered in mind’s bright flame,
And louder than the roar of waves,
Thundering from ocean’s prison caves,
Comes the glad shout that hallows thee
The Year of Freedom’s Jubilee!
‘Tis strange how mind has been chained down,
And reason scourged like branded sin!
How man has shrunk before man’s frown,
And darkened heaven’s own fire within!
But Freedom breathed-the flame burst forth—
Wo to the spoilers of the earth,
Who would withstand its lightning stroke,
And heavier forge the galling yoke;—
As well the breaking reed might dare
The cataract’s rush—the whirlwind’s war!
Ay, thrones must crumble—even as clay,
Searched by the scorching sun and wind!
And crushed be Superstition’s sway
That would with writing scorpions bind
The terror-stricken conscience down
Beneath anointed monarch’s frown;
Till Truth is in her temple sought,
The soul’s unbribed, unfettered thought,
That, science-guided, soars unawed,
And reading Nature rests on God!
This must be-is-the passing year
Has rent the veil, and despots stand
In the keen glance of Truth severe,
With craven brow and palsied hand:—
Ye, who would make man’s spirit free,
And change the Old World’s destiny,
Bring forth from Learning’s halls the light,
And watch, that Virtue’s shield be bright;
Then to the ‘God of order’ raise
The vow of faith, the song of praise,
And on-and sweep Oppression’s chains,
Like ice beneath the vernal rains!
My Country, ay, thy sons are proud,
True heirs of Freedom’s glorious dower;
For never here has knee been bowed
In homage to a mortal power:
No, never here has tyrant reigned,
And never here has thought been chained!
Then who would follow Europe’s sickly light,
When here the soul may put forth all her might,
And show the nations, as they gaze in awe,
That Wisdom dwells with Liberty and Law!
O, when will Time his holiest triumph bring—
‘Freedom o’er all the earth, and Christ alone reigns King!’