The first resplendent and holy, flourishing over waters, trees with fulsome fruit, witherless leaves, psaltery furrowing the land, a covenant of light and mist; no want; creation swelling, begetting in the shadow of white-clifted wings.
In the second, sin sprouted rocks and spurs; acorns detonate like grenades; mandrakes scream bloodroots and tribulation; serpents untangle from dead boughs, sunlight shriveled up everywhere.
The third the garden within tending memories of rockroses, fallen pomegranates and sallow sunsets; olive trees weeping in the wilderness blood-seared thorns and stargazer lilies pressed into a crown; God calling us back to paradise.
Having struggled with a rare cancer that offered little chance of recovery, Poetry magazine editor Christian Wiman has navigated his way through questions of belief and death. His cartography begins early in his life with the story of his grandmother and elderly great aunt. During his early adult years, Wiman lived in a trailer in the yard of “the big house” where they lived.
As if you were an odd species of television, a fleshed machine with un-rechargeable batteries.
Or a greasy remnant of bathwater, ready to rattle down the drain.
As if you were a clot of tobacco, something to fill up the gums.
Anything but a battered body, one of ours, your current passing between two hands.
Study war no more
Mar 18, 2011
Michael Izbicki grew up in a nondenominational church in California. A National Merit Scholarship finalist, he chose to go to the U.S. Naval Academy out of a sense of duty to his country during a time of war. At the naval academy he began to doubt whether the career to which he had committed himself could be squared with the tenets of just war doctrine. He got in trouble when he responded no to this exam question: "If given the order, would you launch a missile carrying a nuclear warhead?" After a four-year legal battle, the navy discharged him as a conscientious objector. Izbicki may have to reimburse the service for part or all of his education (New York Times, February 22).