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Hadean Eclogues

Hadean Eclogues

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Published by Frederick Turner

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Published by: Frederick Turner on Feb 27, 2009


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 Hadean Eclogues
Poems byFrederick Turner
PrefaceWinter Evening in TexasTexas EcloguesThe Cold Applause (Maine, 1989)Villanelle on the Oregon CoastRevisiting Northamptonshire
Pear Tree in MarchGeysers in YellowstoneColumbia Runs a TemperatureThe Bruges VirginIn a Season of Political FactionA RiddleOn a BigotAdvice to a PoetSalvage205 Woodside DriveThe Arrival MattersOn Glenn Gould's Goldberg Variations, Saint-Colombe, Marais, Radnoti andPetrarchDeath MassNorth Sea StormOn Robert CorriganCorrigan DyingCorrigan DeadField NotesThe Dolphin Hotel and Epcot CenterSestina Upon the Cosmological Anthropic PrincipleTitanessOn the Precolumbian ZeroPinatubo Summer
Preface to the Hadean Eclogues
Certain places on the Earth are hellmouths, gateways between the land of the livingand the land of the dead. On this side of those gates the landscape is especiallystrange and beautiful: often it is a valley on the slopes of a volcano, like Virgil'sAvernus in the shadow of Vesuvius, or the vale of Enna beneath Mount Etna thatMilton compared to Paradise. Volcanic soil, fresh from the bowels of the planet, isfamed for its fertility, and it can support rich harvests of corn and vine. Pluto godof volcanoes is god of money. But this place is also a place of danger, and at thehellmouth itself the grass will not grow and the ground is sulphurous, hollow, andbubbling with noxious gases. There must be a sacred precinct to demarcate the twoworlds from each other, lest the living and the dead intermingle too freely. TheIndians considered Yellowstone taboo for the same reasons, and would not settlethere; and we do likewise.It is the country that True Thomas discovers, after he has been abducted by theQueen of Faerie in the old Scots ballad of Thomas the Rhymer. He is carried onthe back of her horse through the sunless country and across rivers of human bloodto where the path divides in three--one to Heaven, one to Hell, and one to "fairElfland." There they choose the third path that lies between the familiar ways of evil and good, the bonnie path that winds about the ferny brae, up the airymountain, down the rushy glen. At last they reach the dark garden where sevenhundred years can pass in seven, and he receives from the queen the very awkwardgift of truth-telling. (How, he asks, can I prosper in the market or avoid the wrathof a king if I have this gift--and how can I speak to a fair lady if I must always saywhat is in my mind?) This is the country of the dead, but also of the ever-living:the Western Mountain of the Chinese, the Babylonian Dilmun, the Happy HuntingGrounds of the Plains Indians. It is also the land of certain dreams, unbearablydelicious, but lit always by a strange anxiety, an edge of fear at the unknown, anurgency of unknown cause. It is a place both of the past and the future; it is thedream you have of a house you once lived in, and in the dream you are so happyand at home there, and just before you awaken to find it is lost and gone forever,

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