Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ascension VIII (concluded)

Here's the end of section eight of the Christ II (The Ascension), which includes a breathtaking sequence of anaphora that mirrors the "Gifts of Men" catalogue poem.


They could not know then of that bird’s flight,
who made denial of his climbing up, and did not believe
that the Origin of Life was taken up in the shape of man,
holy from the earth, across the Power Majestic.
He who shaped the world honored us then,
the Ghostly Son of God, and gave to us his grace,
eternal foundations upwards among the angels,
and also sowed and established the manifold
wisdom of the heart throughout the minds of men. (654-63)

To some he sends wise articulation into the memory
of his mind through the aspiration of his mouth,
noble perception. One man can sing and tell of all things
in whom the craft of wisdom is committed in his soul.
Some can vibrate the harpstrings with his fingers
very well and loudly before other men, touching the mirth-wood.
Some can reckon aright the laws of the people of God.
Some can tell of the mysterious orbit of the stars,
the broad creation. Some can craftily write statements of words.
To some he grants success in warfare in their battles,
when the spear-corps and shooters send the flickering
of wrought missiles over the covering of locked shields.
Some very bravely can drive the swimming wood
over the salty sea, stirring the agitation of the ocean.
Some can climb the highest and steepest of trees.
Some can create weapons, the sword of steel.
Some know the course of plains, the wide-spreading ways.
So the Sovereign dispenses his many gifts to us
on earth, the God-Child. He does not wish to give
all his wisdom of spirit to any one man,
lest boasting over others should harm him
due to his unique talents. (664-85)

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