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It’s a strange courage
you give me, ancient star:
Shine alone in the sunrise
toward which you lend no part!
Under the iced up nipples of the night, who wouldn’t
Think of courage? But penetration—
To crack open the sky as a crustacean on a plate,
Undersea comestibles, perils
Along the sea-road, distant whalesong,
Each wave’s crest protruding
Skyward, medleyed sound of each to each:
Star-symphony? Siren-sea? The hydrographic work of words
Frenzied by the friction of two elements
Rubbed together? Here—I purse out
My pageantry of seeing, return to you
All my pride—ancient star—
Wouldst I weren’t as restless as mine art,
Bounteous day, nightly dimming,
Sea flush far against an impressive sky,
Eye swilling about, cosmology on the mend,
Morning starlight drowned out but for just a glimpse
Of distance being, what? Finale of estrangement? Frighted genius?
There is a star in every bastard.
Nakedly his lover made of stillness an art,
Bronzed with light, reflecting
Neither . . . face nor any inner part nor thought
Lending any use to a morning like any other,
Shining like fire, burning pages and pages of.
In the middle of the sea, one can cry out
Like an ancient star, but one would be wrong—
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Reflecting on three monumental works of modernism—James Joyce’s Ulysses, T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus—a hundred years on.
Both regulators and employers have embraced new technologies for on-the-job monitoring, turning a blind eye to unjust working conditions.
But I do miss the hymns, / the small, hard apples with their dimpled skin. I do miss / things.