Apr. 22nd, 2011

starlady: Quorra fights CLU's black guard programs (for the users and for me)
Someday I should make a post of all the weird things I've found on the Internet while looking for maps of the provinces of the Roman Empire. Hint: you can get porn before you can get a decent map of Pannonia (though technically that was my friend J's search, not mine).

This is one of my absolute favorite poems, and has been since I first read it in high school. Lowell's language is extraordinarily physical--do yourself a favor and read it aloud--but the austere New Englander worldview appeals to me too. Certainly it seems appropriate to post today.



The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket
by Robert Lowell

[FOR WARREN WINSLOW, DEAD AT SEA]

Let man have dominion over the fishes of the sea and the fowls of the air and the beasts of the whole earth,
and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth.


I

A brackish reach of shoal off Madaket—
The sea was still breaking violently and night
Had steamed into our North Atlantic Fleet,
When the drowned sailor clutched the drag-net. Light
Flashed from his matted head and marble feet,
He grappled at the net
With the coiled, hurdling muscles of his thighs:
The corpse was bloodless, a botch of reds and whites,
Its open, staring eyes
Were lustreless dead-lights
Or cabin-windows on a stranded hulk
Heavy with sand. We weight the body, close
Its eyes and heave it seaward whence it came,
Where the heel-headed dogfish barks its nose
On Ahab’s void and forehead; and the name
Is blocked in yellow chalk.
Sailors, who pitch this portent at the sea
Where dreadnaughts shall confess
Its hell-bent deity,
When you are powerless
To sand-bag this Atlantic bulwark, faced
By the earth-shaker, green, unwearied, chaste
In his steel scales: ask for no Orphean lute/To pluck life back. )

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