[ToC]

 

2 POEMS

John Bradley

 

 

SIR THOMAS BROWNE ON THE SOURCE OF OUR DIS EASE

For at the eye the Pyramidal rayes
from the object, receive
a decussation, and so strike

a second base upon the Retina
or hinder coat, the proper
organ of Vision; wherein

the pictures from objects are
represented, answerable
to the paper, or wall in the dark
 
chamber; after the decussation
of the rayes at the hole
of the hornycoat,

and their refraction upon
the Christalline humour,
answering the foramen

of the window, and the convex
or burning-glasses, which
refract the rayes that enter it.

And so strike, a decussation
received from the object's
Pyramidal rayes at the eye.

 

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LET THE TULIP

Let the tulip give meat, someone cried. From
the furthest point of forgotteness. Then
in my American mouth everything
tasted American. After we stuffed
the sky into a caul. A fingerprint
into a printer. Until it was said:
Let there be said. The bomb, from the furthest
point of forgetfulness. I tracked a dry
hymn many miles before I knew: Eat
not of thy psalm. For a splinter of sun.
Maybe we slipped into a caesura
which keeps slipping. Into the tongue. Each time          
I blink: I'm awake. Blink: I'm asleep. We
sunder under the sun. Let it be said.

 

 

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"Let the Tulip" was inspired by a photograph of a nuclear bomb test. Samuel Johnson had this to say of Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682): "His style is, indeed, a tissue of many languages." Indeed. "Sir Thomas Browne on the Source of Our Dis Ease" is largely a found poem drawn from his The Garden of Cyrus (1658).