The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Wednesday, Monocacy Aqueduct, Earthquake!


The Immanent God
By Cale Young Rice

See your God in the jelly-fish,
Sucking salty food.
See Him drift in the gulf-weed,
In shark-bellies brood.
See Him feed with the gull there,
In a grey ship's wake.
Feel Him afresh
In your own hot flesh
When into lust you break.

Hear His wrath in the hurricane,
Hushing a hundred lives.
Hist His heave in the earthquake,
In volcano hives.
Hark His stride in the plague-wind,
Over a sterile shore:
Down in a mine
Behold what wine
Of coal-damp He will pour.

Aye, and there in the ribaldry
Of a night-wench's song
Hear Him—or on a child's lips
Cursing a slum-mate's wrong.
Stark He starves in the street there,
Or, full-fed, will go:
He, your God,
In every clod
Or clot of human woe.

And—in every infamy
Loathed by you with shame.
Clear of the saddest soul-stench
None can keep His name.
Man's, you may say, all crime is,
But Who gave man birth?
Spawn of the years
Is he—with tears
And strife to give him worth.

Spawn of the Universes,
God's great flesh and bone.
Stars are the cells that float there,
Through lymph-ether strown.
Dying, living, and dead there,
Coming again to birth
Out of a Womb
That was their Tomb
Are they—and is our earth.

Such is your Immanent God—yea,
Evil as well as good,
Vileness even as beauty
Holds His strange Godhood.
Great He seems in the sea's surge,
Fair in a woman's face,
Yet with the worm
He feeds a term
On every goodly grace.

Spirit, then, you may hold Him,
High of plan and hope.
But world-flesh does He strive with,
Yearn like us—and grope;
So must ever and oft seem
Avid to escape
From the hid yeast
That moulds the least
Of all things to His shape.

Spirit, may be—or haply
We had known no growth,
But in a slime primeval
Still would dwell in sloth.
Yet if such is His Being,
Finite is His need.
To the same ends
As earth He wends
And journeying must bleed.

--------

Apart from the earthquake, I had a nice day. I got up early to fold laundry and watched Main Street, which has Colin Firth and Orlando Bloom inexplicably playing people from North Carolina and Texas -- if you've seen Colin parodying British actors trying to play Southerners on Saturday Night Live, it's not far off at moments. Still, the cast is very good in general (Patricia Clarkson, Amber Tamblyn, Ellen Burstyn) and though the story had all sorts of ominous stuff going on, I liked the ending.

After lunch we decided that we wanted to go see the Civil War sites in Montgomery County from the TV show we had watched the night before, so we went first to Edwards Ferry -- where there is no longer a ferry at the point where the Army of the Potomac crossed in June 1863. But there is a lockhouse in very good shape and the ruins of a C&O Canal lock plus the onetime general store in the small town that was there -- there were frogs in the ruins and damselflies by the water.

Then we went to the Monocacy Aqueduct, which we hadn't even known about before the TV special, though one can walk from Montgomery County into Frederick County across it between the old railroad tracks and the point where the Monocacy River meets the Potomac. We saw lots of animals -- groundhogs, a deer and fawn, many birds and bugs. As we were walking across, several herons took off squawking from spots in the water and the railings began to shake. I thought it was probably from construction somewhere nearby, though younger son joked that it was an earthquake.

Then we got into the car and back into mobile phone range, and the text messages started to come in. We stopped for ice cream in Bealsville, by which time we had realized not only that we had felt an earthquake, but that most of the U.S. east coast had, too. My mother texted that they had had some photos fall down, so we were uneasy about what we'd find at home, and sure enough, we had a major book avalanche off a bookcase and a bunch of small items falling from high shelves, though fortunately nothing major was broken.

Younger son had art class, so apaulled drove him while I was still picking up the books and tchotchkes. My parents took older son to pick up a new printer for college. After we retrieved younger son at Glen Echo, we went to California Tortilla for dinner, and we have just finished watching the extended edition of The Fellowship of the Ring, since older son decided that we should watch The Lord of the Rings in its entirety one more time before he goes to college. So, like I said, a lovely day, apart from the natural disaster!


The ruins of a chimney in front of the lockhouse at Edwards Ferry.


There is very little water left in the canal...


...but there is enough for frogs.


Confederate troops planned to blow up Monocacy Aqueduct with the help of some Maryland residents, many of whom were Southern sympathizers.


Now, many animals live in the vicinity, including this groundhog...


...and several herons. This photo was taken very nearly at the moment the earthquake's tremors began, when the birds took off squawking and the railing began to rattle.


We stopped for ice cream at a store that had ducks and chickens in a coop outside.


And came home to scenes like this, plus a couple of very unhappy cats.
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