Gathering Eden

Kyrie Yeshua,

We have no memory of happier times
except the mimeographed black and white
irrelevant and unlived kind

No touchstone of bliss to serve as reference
For reconstruction and renovation

Instead we forage through the present pieces of ordinary lives
gathering Eden from the disparate strands presumed to be
echos of the first thing, the better thing, the joyful thing

And perhaps the joy itself is provenance enough
to prove that such things were present there
And have floated down the Tigris to us here.

9 thoughts on “Gathering Eden

  1. june

    This sounds like an artist’s statement for a gallery opening of a photography show. (To me.) Can’t you just see this printed on one whole wall…right when you walk in… Oh, oh…polaroid transfers!…that would be such the perfect medium for this.

  2. michael lee Post author

    I’ve been reading a lot of W.H. Auden, and came across this phrase from one of his contemporary reviewers, “In the very latest poems the creation of an Eden out of the materials of ordinary or nearly ordinary living has become a practice dear to Auden.” (link)

    I like that idea.

  3. June

    It’s such a lovely word…and yet…I wouldn’t be surprised to see it used as the name for a chain of beauty supply stores or some such thing. (“The origin of beauty…”)

    I’m watching a show about art on pbs right now…specifically, what Hitler and the Nazis did with it. Shudder.

    Oh, the provenance of it all.

  4. Sharolyn

    Mike, I hope you don’t mind, I sent this to a friend. She printed it and put it in her Bible.

  5. june

    I’m going to write this on a wall in my painting studio (a bedroom in our house). I have various quotes, verses and lines from hymns on all the walls. I take great relish in scribbling inspirational words directly onto the walls…they get covered up when I’m working on pieces and are there to greet me when I’m done. It’s cool.

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