Get our latest essays, archival selections, reading lists, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Nighthawk and sun-bird
beauty of the world beauty of the world
How can one write beauty of the world?
Fumbled for each other in the dark
familiar, unfamiliar, the touch
of watery air
walls, weight of watery air
cards scattered across a table,
game of chance they had played
• • •
So, Alyosha, maybe it is true
that we live in perhaps.
Perhaps the earth . . . perhaps the sky . . .
chemical winds, auroras, tides,
chalk hills and blistered pines
and the microtonal bells.
And those who swallow ink
(the ringers of bells),
perhaps they will inherit
the bogs and salt marshes,
the swamp grass and samphire,
jacket with torn pockets, shredded cuffs.
Will inherit the sea-foam, the dust,
the ferrous mud
that reabsorbs us.
• • •
Along the corridors
of the invisible world, Raúl,
gardeners raise such flowers
as need no light
watered by voices
as need no eyes
to be seen
• • •
It is the role of the lovers to set fire to the book.
In the palm garden at night they set fire to the book
and read by the light of the book.
Syllables, particles of glass, they pass back and forth in the dark.
The two, invisible—transparent—in the book,
their voices muffled by the book.
It is the role of the lovers to be figures of the book, the
changing as the pages turn,
now joined, now clawing the fruit from each other’s limbs,
now interlaced, now tearing at throat and vein,
then splayfoot, then winged, then ember,
as the music of the book,
rustling through the palms,
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
Historian Gerald Horne has developed a grand theory of U.S. history as a series of devastating backlashes to progress—right down to the present day.
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.