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Poetry: Last Days

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Why in the last of days does it feel the first—why is the rain always new, a ‘latter rain’?The baby’s name is Phoenix and her flameis better than the ash we visit andrevisit. Last night I dreamed that all the womenin my life were in fear of the end—no more wine, long nights, no more new songs,above them spun the stars. In older days,what am I saying, in younger days, beforethe denial of the text, before eventhe text, there was the dream that almighty Lovemoved the spheres; a man wrote it down, and oncepenned down in a book, the people forgot. The lovebecame a lesson, and by ten o’ clockit was forgotten—gone like the clang of cymbals,singing of angels, fled as stories where mountainsshift their oxen shadows into green fields of sea.Now no more mystery’s revealed; we knowit all; empirical proof exists which explainsthe losing of God; no thing explains the joy.Commentary by Kathleen Norris: Poetry and religion both have their origin in the spoken word, in tales shared around a campfire or sung at a cradle. Both poetry and religion suffer as they are removed from the oral realm: poetry can wither on the pag …

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