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to celebrate the waking, wake

Muriel RukeyserIt’s National Poetry Month!

To celebrate, here is a poem by Muriel Rukeyser.

She’s the author of my all-time favorite quote: The world is made of stories, not of atoms.

Song

Make and be eaten, the poet says,
Lie in the arms of nightlong fire,
To celebrate the waking, wake.
Burn in the daylong light; and praise
Even the mother unappeased,
Even the fathers of desire.

Blind go the days, but joy will see
Agreements of music; they will wind
The shaking of your dance; no more
Will the ambiguous arm-waves spell
Confusion of the blessing given.

Only and finally declare
Among the purest shapes of grace
The waking of the face of fire,
The body of waking and the skill
To make your body such a shape
That all the eyes of hope shall stare.

That all the cries of fear shall know,
Staring in their bird-pierced song;
Lines of such penetration make
That shall bind our loves at last.
Then from the mountains of the lost,
All the fantasies shall wake,
Strong and real and speaking turn
Wherever flickers your unreal.

And my strong ghosts shall fade and pass
My love start fiery as grass
Wherever burn my fantasies,
Wherever burn my fantasies.

I’ve written (very little) and written about poetry fairly often on this blog, which is named after some lines in an e.e. cummings poem. You can check the posts by clicking the Poetry category link.

This post is part of April’s 30 Days of Celebration. To read more, click on the Celebration category link.

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2 thoughts on “to celebrate the waking, wake

  1. thh1859 on said:

    ‘The world is made of stories, not of atoms’. With equal effect (or lack thereof), one can replace ‘stories’ with ‘music’ ‘The World Series’ ‘conflict’ ‘love’ ‘flesh’ ‘compassion’ ‘thoughts’… depending how one views life.

    The poem reads like a parody. I’m surprised; you write so well yourself.

    • Thank you. Muriel Rukeyser isn’t to everyone’s taste, that’s for sure. The stories/atoms quote has a particular meaning for me, so (for me) “stories” could not be replaced with any other word to equal effect.

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