Enlighten Radio Presents: The Poetry Show
The Poetry show broadcasts live Mondays 7AM Eastern....
April 17, 2023
with Hosts John Case and Janet Harrison
******* The Podcast *******
The Faces of Eve: Sail Away
This episode features poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke and Rita Dove turning the Genesis narrative on its head, and Eve in particular. We also feature The Dutch Shoe by Louis Jenkins, and Robert Bly's revision of Noah's search for Land after the Flood: Send not the dove; send the Crow.
Poems read today:
WHERE WE MUST LOOK FOR HELP
The dove returns; it found no resting place;
It was in flight all night above the shaken seas.
Beneath Ark eaves
The dove shall magnify the tiger's bed;
Give the dove peace.
The split-tail swallows leave the sill at dawn;
At dusk blue swallows shall return.
On the third day the crow shall fly;
The crow, the crow, the spider-colored crow,
The crow shall find new mud to walk upon.
— Eating the Honey of Words: New and Selected Poems
HarperCollins, New York (1999), p. 7
Early Poems (1950-1955) (Web)
The Dutch Shoe (from the Innisfree Poetry Journal)
She was out of the water for years, since the early fifties maybe, over at the shipyard in Superior. You could see her from the highway, her masts down, sails stowed away. I loved that boat. All the time I was growing up I made plans to buy her someday. What shall I say happened? That my father bought her and put her in the back yard and kept garden tools in the hold? Or that my mother bought her and kept her in the china closet with the jade Buddha and the eight-day clock? That her brass gleams in the firelight, still dry and harmless? No. I bought the Dutch Shoe and sailed to Rangoon and Singapore and a hundred other places. I faced incredible dangers and hardships. I talk loud and drink all night. When I snore I wake bears in the forest and fish in the sea. Early mist rises from the water. Ice forms on the masts. My hair has turned white and my teeth have fallen out. I can't see a thing and I am sailing away.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Genesis "trilogy": (trans. by Ernest Flemming)
In the Beginning
Ever since those wondrous days of Creation
our Lord God sleeps: we are His sleep.
And He accepted this in His indulgence,
resigned to rest among the distant stars.
Our actions stopped Him from reacting,
for His fist-tight hand is numbed by sleep,
and the times brought in the age of heroes
during which our dark hearts plundered Him.
Sometimes He appears as if tormented,
and His body jerks as if plagued by pain;
but these spells are always outweighed by the
number of His countless other worlds.
High above he stands, beside the many
saintly figures fronting the cathedral's
gothic tympanum, close by the window
called the rose, and looks astonished at his
own deification which placed him there.
Erect and proud he smiles, and quite enjoys
this feat of his survival, willed by choice.
As labourer in the fields he made his start
and through his efforts brought to full fruition
the garden God named Eden. But where was
the hidden path that led to the New Earth?
God would not listen to his endless pleas.
Instead, He threatened him that he shall die.
Yet Adam stood his ground:
Eve shall give birth.
Look how she stands, high on the steep facade
of the cathedral, near the window-rose,
simply, holding in her hand the apple,
judged for all time as the guiltless-guilty
for the growing fruit her body held
which she gave birth to after parting from
the circle of eternities. She left
to face the strange New Earth, so young in years.
Oh, how she would have loved to stay a little
longer in that enchanted garden, where
the peaceful gentle beasts grazed side by side.
But Adam was resolved to leave, to go
out into this New Earth, and facing death
she followed him. God she had hardly known.
Rita Dove via the Poetry Foundation
I Have Been a Stranger in a Strange Land
"Life's spell is so exquisite, everything conspires to break it."
It wasn't bliss. What was bliss
but the ordinary life? She'd spend hours
in patter, moving through whole days
touching, sniffing, tasting . . . exquisite
housekeeping in a charmed world.
And yet there was always
more of the same, all that happiness,
the aimless Being There.
So she wandered for a while, bush to arbor,
lingered to look through a pond's restive mirror.
He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.
That's when she found the tree,
the dark, crabbed branches
bearing up such speechless bounty,
she knew without being told
this was forbidden. It wasn't
a question of ownership—
who could lay claim to
such maddening perfection?
And there was no voice in her head,
no whispered intelligence lurking
in the leaves—just an ache that grew
until she knew she'd already lost everything
except desire, the red heft of it
warming her outstretched palm.