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  • By Luke Briner

The Statuary

They stand abidingly amid the sun-enhalcyoned shrouds

That diadem the lofty, lonesome mount

As though the eminences of a never-passing age,

Formidable and unoblivioned.

I’ve longed so much to know

Myself the secrets of that conclave’s beatific life—

No longer to meander through its ranks

In idle fancy, but to offer up this trembling flesh

Unto its highest rigor, and be free

From all that lies below.

Beneath this sacred crest partitioning the long-estranged

Hypostases of timelessness and toil

A worthless nature writhes, unidylled, frantically inert,

And aching for a self-subverted peace.

Is that my destiny?

Or does a higher motion dwell within this dismal breast,

By which I could endeavor to endure

In still submiss the apogean kiln that immolates

All false debris, and fires the faultless form

That hides inside of me?

Take all that’s good within: outstretch, unfold the tiny point

Of infinite and life-enthralling light

That silently reposes in the center of the squalls

And miseries of its posterity

Into a puissant shape,

Epitomized in its unique perfection, as its kin,

Atop an undeclining golden age;

Would that ascendancy be mine?—or would I, thrown aside

As an extraneous vessel, only watch

Its heavenward escape?

Alighted effortlessly on the yawning azure plane

The Luminary, cool and pontiff-like,

Presides above the praises of her progeny, and sighs

A living redolence which sweeps them up

In transcendental rite;

As she to them, so they to me—and I aspire as they

To carve upon the all-anointed plane

A self-derived exemplar that, unmoving, moves the world,

And, surpliced by the noon, behold her with

An uneliding sight.

I have withdrawn into myself and looked, and I have found

The dim quiescence of a once-held spouse;

There lies the one true work made for these transience-addled hands:

To grasp the chisel, and restore them to

Their early, godlike shine.

For you and you alone, my Critic, do I make myself

At once the Statue and the Cypriot—

For nothing but the hope of finding in your loving eyes

My truth and legacy, forever fixed

Within the stainless shrine.

Luke Briner was raised in New York and is currently a Senior at St. John's College, Annapolis. He hopes to pursue a career in philosophy and writing after graduating.

1 comentário

18 de nov. de 2023

I appreciate and enjoy the high level of craftsmanship that went into this poem. It is a highly erudite, didactical work in a style reminiscent of Shelley (and I think of Donne, too). The work captures well Horace's dual nature of poetry: uti et frui. I am impressed with this youthful work, and encourage you to write more.

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