Thursday, January 23, 2014

Returning To The Tower We Sought To Win

[to Matthew Arnold, Robert Browning, and Alfred Lord Tennyson-
and all the others before and every country and language]

"The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full..."
-Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach

returning to the tower we sought to win
gaily your pennants floating on the wind;
the mind renewed
where vintage valentines were stored
since no one needed anymore
the hearts of those who thought before
long golden thoughts
in an ivory scene derailed-
for what?

returning to the tower we sought to breathe
above the innocence of trees, beyond the snowed in Park  still
newly green as we were when we first loved

whatever stole them and our time
we will forget and learn to rhyme again
under the inconstant moon
or in blank verse lose this wilderness
and swear new constancy to Him:
Christ of all poetry; they knew-
without flinching at the name.
returning to the tower
let there be balm in picture books again
and evensong and starlight unadulterated.
the poets now in shadow once wrote in this sun
and they were true.
we will remember you, your light
the sudden sorrow of your flights
the useless defamation down the years.
the colours of your songs will paint
this modern quest
for Beauty wronged

and we will sing;
unashamed and free, though ridiculed
and jewel on jewel the peerless cantos learn, prolong
so meant for earth as Heaven indeed down to the last breath
and margins of the sea of song 
of faith of hearts

no longer empty

mary angela douglas 23 january 2014