Sunday, September 9, 2007

Jorie Graham's "San Sepolcro" and Lisel Mueller on Bach

In this blue light / I can take you there

And to keep things balanced, here's a musical ekphrasis

Bach Transcribing Vivaldi—Lisel Mueller

One remembered the sunrise, how clearly it gave
substance and praise to the mountains of the world;
the other imagined twilight, the setting in blood,
and a valley of fallen leaves where a stranger might rest.

One avoided the forest and made his way through fields
where the sky was constant and clouds rang in his ears;
the other cut through the thicket, the thorns and vines
and was not touched, except by the dying of men.

One asked the road to the land of the golden lion
whose eyes never weep, whose lifted hand scepters
the seasons of stars and the grafting of generations;
the other searched from the kingdom of the lamb
with the trembling fleece, whose live unreasoning heart
consumes the mortal treasures of his loves.

Still, at one point of the journey one must have seen
the afternoon dip and drop away into shade
and the other come to a place where the forest cleared
into white and violet patches of stars.

1 comment:

fabfrance16 said...

It interests me that the fresco of the virgin that Graham refers to is not in fact at San Sepulcro, but Monterchi, another town in the area.

Has she made a mistake? Is it her intention to refer to the idea of the 'holy grave' and not the town? Does it matter one way or the other in any case?