Saturday, April 12, 2014

Meditations in Fast Times: 34. What is poetry

Note to Readers: “Meditations in Fast Times” is a devotional writing experiment for the Season of Lent. Each day during the season, I am writing a poem as a meditation on, taking as my inspiration and intertextual basis, T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets”, as well as incorporating the daily office, current events, and other readings—some the same as those Eliot used while composing his seminal work and others.


What is poetry, if it does not save people?

Some of us mistook one condition for another:
that cultivation of an ars poetica
was actually cultivation of an ars vita;
in our defense, I speak for us
—we did so in good faith.

And now, we sit by the waters
as the ancients did,
by those waters of Babylon,
weeping, for all is burning.

All we can say in our defense,
‘twas all done in good faith,
but we have been captured,
we have all been captured,

Is it any wonder that our hopes,
as if they were our children,
have been dashed upon the rocks?

The songs we wrote
were a poor case
of poets wanting an empire.

The wind sings through poplars,
for we are nothing of nothing,
laid low and expecting nothing.

the wind carries forward
the memory of our intention,
and the heart.

© 2014 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen