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NaPoWriMo – April 24

Today’s poem is offered by G. E. Schwartz:  THE INVISIBLE KINGDOM by Kathleen Raine…

 Gerry says the following about it :  “John Montague, the Irish-American poet pointed me to Kathleen Raine’s poetry and for that I am forever in his debt. William Blake was her master, and she shared his belief that “one power alone makes a poet–imagination, the divine vision.” As WB Yeats, her other great exemplar, put it, “poetry and religion are the same thing”. To this vision Kathleen Raine committed not only her poetry and erudition, but the whole of her being. Her poetry, and especially THE INVISIBLE KINGDOM, stands as witness to spiritual values in a society that rejects them. Speaking of this poem in particular–and Raine and her work in general, we can use Blake’s words: “That in time of trouble I kept the divine vision. Better to be a sprat in that true ocean, than a big fish in a literary rockpool.” Amen.”

THE INVISIBLE KINGDOM

We know more than we know

Who see always the bewildering proliferating

Multiplicity of the common law.

 

There come to the artist’s hands

Such subtleties of form, of light,

Gardens, presences,

 

Faces so tenderly beautiful

We wonder with what untaught knowledge seen,

Beyond the commonplace hidden

 

Aspects of mystery, secrets

known only to the soul,

known only to love, immeasurable

 

Wisdom from our own hand’s work grown,

Expressions of a knowledge not our own

Which yet guides brush and pen, obedient

 

To an omniscience we, though ignorant, yet share

Whose hearts respond and answer

to Schubert’s music, and Mozart’s, they knowing no more

 

Than we of the celestial harmonies

They heard above the continual dissonance

The immediate imposes.

 

Yet unceasing

The music of the spheres, the magia of light,

Sprit’s self-knowledge in its flow

 

Imaging continually the all

Of which each moment is the presence

Telling itself to the listener, the seer in the heart

 

Contemplates in time’s river

The ever-changing never-changing face.

 

— Kathleen Raine

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