Sunday, October 09, 2011

Frederick Turner's "Let Be"

If you don’t know of the brilliant poetry and philosophy of Frederick Turner, let me say a brief word here. He is author of, among many books, two stunning epic poems, The New World, and Genesis, and a philosophical/theological tour de force, Natural Religion. He is one of the great thinkers of our age, and after the dour and accusing voices of Eliot and Pound have long since been washed away, Turner’s visionary work will continue to stand as a towering beacon of knowledge and light.

His blog is:

While I seem to default to philosophizing with a hammer (to steal a beautiful image) Fred enlightens with delicate veils moved and removed. For example:

Let Be

Weeding, I disturb a bee
That is bumbling in the sages,
But she has forgiven me,
Goes off to the saxifrages.

There I will just let her be,
And, since bee-ing is her being,
She will go on being free,
She-ing while I go on me-ing.

“Let it be” was how the king
In that strange old myth or story
Gave the bee its sweet and sting,
Set the heavens in their glory:

Was it permit or command?
Do we own, or was he letting,
Are we in or out of hand?
Was he making or just betting?

So he gave himself away,
Changed from he-ing into she-ing,
Where his “shall” became her “may”,
Time born out of unforeseeing.

If I weed around the sage,
Letting it achieve its flower,
Do I make a kind of cage?
Do I claim a godlike power?

But the weeds are weeding me,
Cells that are, in acting, dying;
Sage-flowers fertilize the bee,
Every selling is a buying.

So creation is a cross,
“Let” and “be” in intersection,
Where the gain is in the loss,
And the death’s the resurrection.

© Frederick Turner; posted here with permission by the author

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