Zeno’s Nocturne Hymn

Sometimes words stalk me in the middle of the night. There’s some stuff I have been mulling over for a while now and I suppose that the subconscious pools bubbled up to the surface and woke me up. So, I wrote. In the end all art is theft (I think I stole this line as well), and this piece is the byproduct of my sources, so I owe this to the artists and philosophers who have blazed this trail before me. For those of you who are in the ad fontes kind of mood, these are my sources:

TS Eliot’s Four Quartets

Lisel Mueller’s In Passing

Zeno’s Paradoxes

Henri Bergson’s An Introduction to Metaphysics

* Apologies for the formatting, I still haven’t been able to get WordPress to behave

 

Zeno’s Nocturne Hymn

 

The moment freezes the arrow in midair,

the black oak leaves encased in the amber afternoon

remain still while the cold breezes between

autumn and winter blow.

Time and motion cease at the still point

and point to the beginning of motion and time

and their end.

 

Emptiness and fullness are the child

of the same mother,

who was with the LORD before all worlds

when the Word was spoken in the beginning.

She is ours in fear and the end of fear

when at last fools learn wisdom and renounce

the poisoned fruit of our first garden.

Knowledge is regained in unknowing and

trembling ceases when we learn to tremble.

 

The autumn rose shrugs off her mysterious bud

at the thorned end of her ascent,

still, ever and always still the blossom lingers

in the eternal moment,

and what is precious is lost upon the frosts of winters morning.

Her petals make the slow descent

to the barren soil and blanket the sepulcher

when time begins again at its Lenten end.

 

Calm midnight is forever still and

starlight frozen in unceasing circuit.

Orion ceases in the moment

between past and future and forever shines.

The oaken leaves in November’s amber afternoon

are called and recalled into the ceaseless night by memory;

where the past is made immortal in the present,

where future leaves rattle in tomorrow’s breeze

under the same still starlight.

 

Oak and rose, Advent and Lent

are the same child of the same Mother,

ascending and descending on the still point,

sharing the same seed of Eden and Gethsemane.

The thorned bud ascends from the same Sepulcher.

Midnight and afternoon

stand forever still in the same memory.

 

By: Jedidiah Paschall

 

 

 

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