Saturday, July 23, 2011

Poem from Night of the Iguana



One of the things that drives this blog is something that has occurred since my retirement:  I remember things from my youth that I don't want to forget and that I want to share.  A friend and I saw the film adaptation of Night of the Iguana by Tennessee Williams.   Deborah Kerr (not just an adolescent fantasy!) is caretaker for her aging and ailing grandfather, who writes this poem before he dies.  My friend and I memorized the poem at the time, but only phrases remain in my mind.


How calmly does the olive branch
Observe the sky begin to blanch
Without a cry, without a prayer
With no betrayal of despair


Some time while light obscures the tree
The zenith of its life will be
Gone past forever
And from thence
A second history will commence


A chronicle no longer gold
A bargaining with mist and mold
And finally the broken stem
The plummeting to earth, and then


An intercourse not well designed
For beings of a golden kind
Whose native green must arch above
The earth's obscene corrupting love


And still the ripe fruit and the branch
Observe the sky begin to blanch
Without a cry, without a prayer
With no betrayal of despair


Oh courage! Could you not as well
Select a second place to dwell
Not only in that golden tree
But in the frightened heart of me 

I have always thought that this was high quality, non supermatural theology.

1 comment:

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