Lanthanum 11.20

I was glad when they said unto me : Let us
go into the house of the Lord, whispered Natasha.
Come now, Henry – lift up with me those everlasting
doors.  I saw two massive, lambent wheels of rose
roll smoothly into place, and merge, and cross –
& form a smaller, oblong shape, like a mandorla.
Understand, Henry – these lenses magnify, &
signify, the ringèd iris of my eyeSo Maximus
perceived (with his own microfine discernment)
the harmony of every two-in-oneof each
polaritysealed by this third integrity of peace
& unionSo Mediation frames the firmament.
I’ll whisper it, in an outline –
its hour has not yet come;
the chessgame of measureless heaven
is mated with sweat – & wisdom.
In me, Henry – Natasha – she who limped along
with him, toward Osip’s lonely gravein me you
see the Ghost of many a Mary : the mother who
gave birth to God; she who witnessed his strong
trial; & she who held him in the garden, signing
to her alone (before the rest) his overwhelming
Victory.  She spoke, & then I saw two wings
of tall cross-lambinated timber, slowly opening
within the Gate.  Light burst across
the river, through the portal... & I saw
a shrouded, bearded, smiling face – in awe
I recognized Him – we had met before...  O


Lemon Hound said...

That's actually very funny, Henry. Elegant.

Henry Gould said...

Thanks for reading it! The center stanza is my translation of part of an octet by O. Mandelstam - the 2nd half of that poem is the center stanza of the next Lanthanum section (11.21). "Natasha" in all this is partly an allusion to one Natasha Shtempel, a young schoolteacher in Voronezh, Russia during the 1930s, who was a great help to the Mandelstams in the last year of his life. She inspired what to me is one of his most moving poems (I think it's simply titled, or dedicated, "To Natasha Shtempel"). This poem is one of the basic "touchstones" or recurring motifs in Lanthanum.

Henry Gould said...

p.s. & "Maximus" is Byzantine monk St. Maximus the Confessor, not Olson's Maximus.

I get a lot from the newspapers when I'm in the heat of the moment. "cross-lambinated timer" is a pun on CLT (cross-laminated timber) a very hot new building material in architectural circles.

Henry Gould said...

"timber", that shd be!