Saturday, January 07, 2006

Poem by Delmore Schwartz

I just discovered these two poems, which I wanted to share -- there seems to me to be the spirit of the artist in them:


"I am cherry alive," the little girl sang,
"Each morning I am something new:
I am apple, I am plum, I am just as excited
As the boys who made the Hallowe'en bang:
I am tree, I am cat, I am blossom too:
When I like, if I like, I can be someone new,
Someone very old, a witch in a zoo:
I can be someone else whenever I think who,
And I want to be everything sometimes too:
But I don't tell the grown-ups: because it is sad,
And I want them to laugh just like I do
Because they grew up and forgot what they knew
And they are sure I will forget it some day too.
They are wrong. They are wrong. When I sang my song, I knew, I knew!
I am red, I am gold, I am green, I am blue,
I will always be me, I will always be new!"


Once, when I was a boy,Apollo summoned me
To be apprenticed to the endless summer of light and consciousness,
And thus to become and be what poets often have been,
A shepherd of being, a riding master of being, holding the sun-god's
horses, leading his sheep, training his eagles,
Directing the constellations to their stations, and to each grace of place.
But the goat-god, piping and dancing, speaking an unknown tongue or the language of the magician,
Sang from the darkness or rose from the underground, whence arise
Love and love's drunkenness, love and birth, love and death, death and rebirth
Which are the beginning of the phoenix festivals, the tragic plays in celebration of Dionysus,
And in mourning for his drunken and fallen princes, the singers and sinners, fallen because they are, in the end,
Drunken with pride, blinded by joy.
And I followed Dionysus, forgetting Apollo. I followed him far too long until I was wrong and chanted:
"One cannot serve both gods. One must choose to win and lose."
But I was wrong and when I knew how I was wrong I knew
What, in a way, I had known all along:
This was the new world, here I belonged, here I was wrong because
Here every tragedy has a happy ending, and any error may be
A fabulous discovery of America, of the opulence hidden in the dark depths and glittering heights of reality.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you should list the authors...I know Delmore Schwartz is the author of "I am cherry alive"