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Poetry

The Eighth Day after Creation

Then what a falling-off there was,
unruly man, a violent God—
when earth gave way, and rocks sprang up,
volcanoes poured their fire down
and mountains rose with jagged crags
to form a world outside the plot.

Though here today among the glaciered peaks
pine stems still grow straight up to him
no matter what false angles roots must cling,
and cowbells ring their music down
the flowered grassy slopes from tiers
of glaciers glistening in the sun.

This then the paradise God must have dropped
in a forgiving moment, paradise
he let descend on us, that earthly joy
by labor gained after great loss,
by labor climbed in alpenglow,
the only paradise now left to us.


The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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