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The Green Flash

Whose Will decreed this landlocked sea
Framed falling sun with glint of green?
What plan determines stone’s design,
Or star’s hot heart, or shadow’s sheen,

Or that we mark, as clever beasts,
The passing haze of Comet’s fall,
And are that glaze of dream on flesh
That sees the need of Plan at all?

I know, I know… No Plan at all
Is said by some to be The Plan.
But what then are these shimmered thoughts
That seem to measure more than man?

Look not down deep but far afield,
Beyond the limits of our sight.
It cannot be that all that is
Is only night on deeper Night.

But should such Night be all that is,
And all as purposeless as stone,
The Heart still sings the body’s chants,
And moves His Light within our bones.

Perhaps this pattern that we live
In woven time between two Lights
Is but some Dance cast to amuse
The Face beyond our blinded sight.

Yet what Dark mind could feel a gleam
Of pleasure from such turns,
Instead of parsing shrouds of Night
From our countenance of burns?

The Countenance of Comets
That the sky at night assumes
Mutes all mathematics learned
On this Continent of Tombs.

For to stand within a meadow
And sense the swell of wind
Is ample compensation
For the Gift that days rescind.

At length our modern marvels
Are but blots of haze on slate
That we note with faint attention
As we step between the Gates,

And dance, to some faint Music,
Along the path of life’s Retreat,
That ancient, ageless Minuet
That rounds our sleep with Sleep.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • ronetc October 25, 2020, 4:17 AM

    It took me a minute to realize this lovely and wise poem was not only posted by but composed by our blog host. I think he has been reading some Gerald Manley Hopkins, with whose work this favorably compares.

  • jd October 25, 2020, 6:09 AM

    Very beautiful. Thank you, Gerard Van der Leun, for
    both, to begin the day.

  • Alex October 25, 2020, 7:11 AM

    “continent of tombs”. Can I steal that?

  • James ONeil October 25, 2020, 12:06 PM

    Saw my first Green Flash down in Puerto Vallarta, some 20° north of the equator, where the sun suddenly drops like a rock beyond the sea. Unlike here, atop the world, almost 150° latitude above, where, much of the year, the sun moseys ‘cross the edge of the the sky for hours before sinking.

    There’s a lot of great and grand twix the sleep and the Sleep and good on yer, Gerard, for reminding us!

  • Snowgoose October 25, 2020, 4:29 PM

    Francis Lee Jaques (1887-1972), certainly one of the finest of Minnesota artists and illustrators (see his wonderful dioramas at the American Museum Of Natural History in New York) completed one of his last paintings, The Passing Of The Old West, in 1969. It shows skeins of geese against a luminous green twilight. His comment was that on a clear evening, just after sundown, there sometimes is the briefest flash of green across the sky. And it’s true!

  • Terry October 25, 2020, 6:30 PM

    Thank you Gerard for the wonderful reminder of when I crossed that bridge twice a say for two plus years. Every crossing was a new and invigorating experience. Never a dull commute. A country boy driving an open top sports car on Highway 1. In the fog or in the sun, still a thrill.

  • Willyruffian October 25, 2020, 6:41 PM

    That was damned good.