I’m reading Paul Zweig. This is the fifth poem in the first section of his Selected and Last Poems, followed by my response. See here for details.
by Paul Zweig
Burning what I own,
Burning this fuel of nerves and money . . .
[Remainder of poem removed 8-25-05]
* * * *
The Gothic cathedral at Burgos, in northern Spain,
was too much: all that colored light
flooding in around the apse
where the monstrous symbolic god was expected
to lay his thorn-pillowed head.
I couldn’t see it.
Cathedrals are best on days when wind & rain
beat their wings against the glass.
Outside, the stone shell darkens
& one longs to pull it tight against the skin
like a frogman’s wetsuit.
Inside: revelation. That a blue drop
should hide a molten core!
The lords of this world reach as far as they need to.
Their fingertips smell of oil & wet ashes
from the crematorium.
We are all possessed, say
the bells of wherever.
This very poem gutters in its wax, poor thing.
The university library commissioned a sculpture
to mark the dedication of a new wing:
in white marble, an open book
with a flame rising from the page, tall
& sinuous – a lap dancer
in the seat of what, we are solemnly
given to understand, represents knowledge.
The room vibrates with the hum of computers.
Sunlight slants through the high windows
above the milling crowd of students,
smooth faces glowing,
from the firing of each split-second synapse,
that light-drenched gap.
OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES
- Them bones
- The pure distance
- Becoming grass
- The fears and pleasures
- Written by the vanquished
- Waiting for the detonation
- Green plague
- That great invention
- To greet the quietness
- Advancing into sleepless woods
- How else?
- What remains
- My life as a landlubber
- Perfect night
- Above the ears, below the waist
- In lieu of listening
- Black stone, yellow field
- City of changes
- The fresh chance
- Too much
- A beach in hell
- When it breaks
- The burden of becoming human
- In slough time
- Restoring the words
- String theories
- Parcels of pure voice
- An undulant map
- Stone-blue winter
- Foreign matter
- Always present
- A sown darkness
- Woods and water
- Fish tales