Here is one of the stranger segments in Grassblade Light (from a chapter called "The Lost Notebooks").


No time. The double movement of a gyroscope,
or Gneiss binoculars: the target sharpens
or the flame leaps out. Anonymous children
of Baghdad tonight - too small, too large -

all out of shape. While William holds his temples
in his hands, and makes a leaf-pile out of
windy mutterings. A graven treasure trove.
Tinder and carbon. These are examples. . .

Are they? When a stone fell from heaven
and penetrated the earth. . . and your heart
(which was a stone) became flesh. . . what craft
of Solomon was this? The word moved among men

like a Samaritan, wandering now here, now there;
and dust blew from the north, and turned round
to the south; and missiles threaded the ground
with a zigzag, morris pattern, purple. . . back to Ur.

Everywhere the holy returns to these rings of Ezekiel.
And the promulgated ordinances solidify as iron
above clay. 29 times the walls must tumble down,
and the petrified heart melt, and the scars heal:

because the temple that will not fall is Babylon,
and the heart that will not break is Nineveh.
And I saw the high walls of Constantinople,
I saw the ornate temples of the Pope, London

bowing down to Henry's iron horseshoe, Boston
measuring the earth with a poor translation -
and I saw the heart of William Blackstone
blaze in the night above those unknown children.


[Wm. Blackstone, as you may recall - Anglican scholar-hermit, first European settler in Rhode Island. The "Lost Notebooks" refer to his own books & papers, destroyed when his property was burned to the ground the day after his death (5.28. circa 1675), during King Philip's War.]

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