Guest poem submitted by Dr. Sudha Shastri
(Poem #584) History of the Night
Throughout the course of the generations men constructed the night. At first she was blindness; thorns raking bare feet, fear of wolves. We shall never know who forged the word for the interval of shadow dividing the two twilights; we shall never know in what age it came to mean the starry hours. Others created the myth. They made her the mother of the unruffled Fates that spin our destiny, they sacrificed black ewes to her, and the cock who crows his own death. The Chaldeans assigned to her twelve houses; to Zeno, infinite words. She took shape from Latin hexameters and the terror of Pascal. Luis de Leon saw in her the homeland of his stricken soul. Now we feel her to be inexhaustible like an ancient wine and no one can gaze on her without vertigo and time has charged her with eternity. And to think that she wouldn't exist except for those fragile instruments, the eyes.
This is a poem I stumbled upon while hunting for magic realist narratives. I responded instinctively with liking, and am sending it even though I have not checked some of the allusions in the poem (such as the Chaldeans and the terror of Pascal). It also reminded me of Joseph Blanco White's poem on Night. Sudha Shastri Links: The Joseph Blanco White poem can be found at http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/rp/poems/whitejb1b.html For a Borges biography and assessment see poem #401