Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Byzantium I Come Not From

No, I am quite happy to visit the magical place for only a short while - too long there and the whole fantastical world might lose its luster, or disappear like a mirage.




And here is Ray Bradbury's evocative poem, which has both magic and the sweet smells of home:

Byzantium, I come not from,
But from another time and place
Whose race was simple, tried and true;

As boy
I dropped me forth in Illinois.
A name with neither love nor grace
Was Waukegan, there I came from
And not, good friends, Byzantium.

And yet in looking back I see
From topmost part of farthest tree
A land as bright, beloved and blue
As any Yeats found to be true.

So we grew up with mythic dead
To spoon upon midwestern bread
And spread old gods' bright marmalade
To slake in peanut-butter shade,
Pretending there beneath our sky
That it was Aphrodite's thigh...
While by the porch-rail calm and bold
His words pure wisdom, stare pure gold
My grandfather, a myth indeed,
Did all of Plato supersede
While Grandmama in rockingchair
Sewed up the raveled sleeve of care
Crocheted cool snowflakes rare and bright
To winter us on summer night.
And uncles, gathered with their smokes
Emitted wisdoms masked as jokes,
And aunts as wise as Delphic maids
Dispensed prophetic lemonades
To boys knelt there as acolytes
To Grecian porch on summer nights;
Then went to bed, there to repent
The evils of the innocent;
The gnat-sins sizzling in their ears
Said, through the nights and through the years
Not Illinois nor Waukegan
But blither sky and blither sun.

Though mediocre all our Fates
And Mayor not as bright as Yeats
Yet still we knew ourselves. The sum?
Byzantium.
Byzantium.

2 comments:

VW said...

Hey! Thanks for the comments! I actually don't do much with the CSA blog, but please visit me at my new URL!

http://www.bird-on-a-line.com

:)

VW

Marianevans said...

That one looks great, too! Thanks for visiting :)