Monday, April 1, 2013

mystery of the verb - anne hebert

In a quiet country we received the passion of the world, naked sword laid on our two hands

Our heart had never known the light when that first was confided to us, and its glimmer deepened the shadow of our features

It was before all weakness, charity was alone
Preceding fear and shame.

It invented the universe in primal justice and we shared this vocation in the great vitality of our love.

Light and death within us received right of asylum, looked at each other with blind eyes, touched each other with careful hands.

Arrows of odour reached us, uniting us to the earth like wounds at a wedding marked by its excesses

O seasons, rivers, alders and ferns, leaves, flowers, wet wood, blue grasses, all our riches bleed their fragrance, animal musk beside us

Colours and sounds visited us in numbers and by small stunning groups, while the dream doubled our spell as the storm hems in the blue of an innocent eye

Joy set to crying out, a new mother smelling of game-birds among the reeds. Spring delivered was so fair that it took our hearts with one hand

The three strokes of the world's creation sounded in our ears and grew like the beating of our blood

In a single dizziness the instant was. Its flash passed over our face and we received a mission of fire and burning.

Silence, nothing moves or speaks, the world is founded, and lifts our hearts, seizes the world in a single stormy gesture, has us clinging to its dawn like the skin to fruit

All the quick earth, the forest on our right, the deep city to our left, right in the world's centre, we advance to the world's tip

Foreheads with curls where silence turns to stale musky shocks of hair, every grimace, aged faces, children's cheeks, loves, wrinkles, joys, mournings, creatures, creatures, tongues of fire at the earth's solstice

O my darkest brothers, all feasts engraved in secret; human breasts, musician gourds where captive voices rage

Let him who has received the function of the world take you in charge like an extra, shadowed heart, too full of shadows, never relent until the dead and living are justified in one single song among the dawns and grasses

Hebert, Anne. "Mystery of the Verb" Modern Canadian Poets. Jones, Evan and Todd Swift, eds. Manchester: Carcanet Press Limited, 2010. 58-9.