given

given
august 2021

given
aging into this present, brittle as clock hands

given
time
they
cannot
give
away
even
the angels
shall
blend into
our graven
present,
the moss
that comes
upon our
face,
our postures
of belief
compelling
no-one,
even the
angels
shall still
their hands
on harps
unstrung,
eyes,
as ours,
stone-cold
open to
the sky,
the dabbing
of wind
on lichen
tears

Copyright © 2021 Peter Le Baige. All Rights Reserved

The music for the reading is from the Choir Concerto of Alfred Schnittke, the composer’s setting of ‘The Book of Lamentations’ by Gregor of Narek (951-1003), performed here by the Russian State Symphonic Choir under conductor Valeri Polyansky. 

4 thoughts on “given”

  1. our postures/of belief/compelling/no-one… I like that like Peter, and the music you have chosen makes the whole showy tapestry of large religion and its untouchable composure seem something invading forces use against the multitudes. Mind control by love and mystery!

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    1. Ah, that’s a profound ‘jab’, ‘mind control by love and mystery’. I was attracted, as you say, by the magnificent ‘tapestry’ of Schnittke’s choral piece, to contrast its intoxication with the ‘eternal’ against the actual fragility (and perhaps even futility) of all these fixed symbols of mystery.

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    1. Interesting question! It reminds me of a Japanese Zen Buddhist priest’s remark in a book of his I read, and who was also an ordained minister, that religion is not helped by too much poetry. In thinking about it, I tend to agree; poetry’s romantic patina hiding as much as it shines.
      I once defined myself this way:
      emotionally Buddhist
      philosophically Daoist
      culturally Christian

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