Monday, October 17, 2016

Are we missing the whole thing

Progressives, with whom we all 
fashionably identify, are lick-
ing their unsavory chops at the
prospect of a humiliation of a
large number of American people.

They, in turn, appear ecstatic
in exposure at last, as derelict
of hope, ever of becoming free.
Or was I describing one people,
all over again?

Is it the unendurably Verdun-
like monotony of the present
campaign that surpasses even
our awe at the inadequacy of
its generals, or is the land
simply exhibiting its fissures
again as intractably unbridge-
able? Neither one, I think.

We note a failure of referral
to our abiding resources. In
these last weeks of our con-
finement, resort to the land
as the compass that it is, is
likely to be the path of pop-
ular thinking; again, with
gratitude to a heterodox lan-
guage, for its versatile eye.

               Pitched high above the shallows of the sea
               lone bells in gritty belfries do not ring
               but coil a far and inward echoing
               out of the air that thrums. Enduringly,

               fuchsia-hedges fend between cliff and sky;
               brown stumps of headstones tamp into the ling
               the ruined and the ruinously strong.
               Platonic England grasps its tenantry

               where wild-eyed poppies raddle tawny farms
               and wild swans root in lily-clouded lakes.
               Vulnerable to each other the twin forms

               of sleep and waking touch the man who wakes
               to sudden light, who thinks that this becalms
               even the phantoms of untold mistakes.

Geoffrey Hill
Selected Poems
  Loss and Gain
Yale University Press, 2006©

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