Canto VIII: Of Elephants and Muse

All Who Believe
March 12, 2007
Handel, I Would Like To Think
March 16, 2007

I have it on a good authority,
Said the crouching elephant of seven
Arms: Today, the day
The Way unfolds, through all the
Trees that breeze and bend
Beneath a caustic sun;
His will be done, it says, the simple
Elephant with seven arms.

But I have had a conversation,
One-syllabled words that toss
Planking moss on dyspeptic ocean foam,
With a man, two arms, two legs,
And little more than charms to
Covet for the day, you say,
That is to come.

Not at all, intruded she, another
One, built of blondness and the
Ripened sheen of certain stars,
Because I have spoken with a
Spirit, brush and lively yet
Hushed in all the voices that she
Claims. It shames, she said,
The words that empty nest on
Human rest, and never see the
The light of day.

The seven arms, their muscles
Quaking, stirred the air; he said,
The elephant with brooding dare,
What does the business of a man,
Five arms shy, deserve? And why
Is he the one, beneath the sun,
You asked for wisdom, and
Not I?

The graceful woman, Lady
Grace—its epitome—started to
With blasphemy, while seven arms
And seven hands convened around
My single neck. There ended me
And all my See, that is the home
I live, and friends that be;
To live another sort of life
That far from here convenes,
As sure-believing Graces, she, and
Elephants of seven arms in preaching
Pray. For on their way, they say:
Today, the day the Way
Unfolds, the trees that breeze
And bend.

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