In 1851, in a journal entry written in late-September, Thoreau writes in its own separate paragraph the following sentence: The poet writes the history of his body. This statement, or observation, occurs seemingly out of the blue, between references to the growth pattern of pine trees and the tendency of a certain kind of grass to burn slowly and steadily without flame.
In Part 2 of Clarel, his 18,000-line poem set in the Holy Land, Melville writes of the desert sky at night in this manner: . . . And Adam’s primal joy may taste, / Beholding all the pomp of night / Bee’d thick with stars in swarms how bright . . .
And I think, what am I to do with such sudden, unanticipated wealth?
All Ye Who Enter
When the last light goes out to meet the velvet dark
And you bleed on humid wood
Yield to hands whose work is love
And praise though blind the everlasting good
Recently Banned Literature, April 14, 2017