‘Death and Resurrection’

I am your double man, though first you will
Me one estate: this meadowed flesh my bones
Do comfort in; the blood’s warm brooks that hill
And waterfall me through; my browsing senses
Nostriled for adventure, five unicorns
That rampant in me run; the mind’s huge barns
All attic’d overhead with my pretenses,
All cellared underneath with my unknowns.

And here I landlord, jubilant a while,
To store up meanings in the bins and ricks,
A sundial farmer faithful to my rites
As morning robins: except my brother, sin,
Prides in the yards and warfares at the gates.
And then my countryside is stones and sticks
And straw, and death soon wooden fences in
The ruined body of my land all still.

Yet you recover me from my disgrace.
This little ground I am, this cipher earth
I corner in, this night that densely nights
Me down to stay; you mine-field with the sun,
The fuse as long as love, the burst a birth,
A second world after the blackout’s done:
And out of my debris you timber heights,
And into my despair you hammer grace.

– Arnold Kenseth, ‘Death and Resurrection’, in The Holy Merriment (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1963), 61.

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