- Mark Olival-Bartley
- Mark Olival-Bartley studied applied linguistics at Hawaii Pacific University, attaining B.A. and M.A. degrees in TESOL, and poetry at the City College of New York. He is now writing a dissertation on the sonnets of E. A. Robinson at LMU München, where he tutors composition and edits weekly flyers on poetry and style. His poems and translations have appeared in journals on both sides of the Atlantic. He is the resident poet at EcoHealth, where his science-themed verse is regularly featured, and a senior copyeditor of Review of International American Studies. He also teaches at Münchner Volkshochschule and runs the Amerikahaus Literary Circle.
by Edwin Arlington Robinson
Just as I wonder at the twofold screen
Of twisted innocence that you would plait
For eyes that uncourageously await
The coming of a kingdom that has been,
So do I wonder what God's love can mean
To you that all so strangely estimate
The purpose and the consequent estate
Of one short shuddering step to the Unseen.
No, I have not your backward faith to shrink
Lone-faring from the doorway of God's home
To find Him in the names of buried men;
Nor your ingenious recreance to think
We cherish, in the life that is to come,
The scattered features of dead friends again.
Never until our souls are strong enough
To plunge into the crater of the Scheme--
Triumphant in the flash there to redeem
Love's hansel and forevermore to slough,
Like cerements at a played-out masque, the rough
And reptile skins of us whereon we set
The stigma of scared years--are we to get
Where atoms and the ages are one stuff.
Nor ever shall we know the cursed waste
Of life in the beneficence divine
Of starlight and of sunlight and soul-shine
That we have squandered in sin's frail distress,
Till we have drunk, and trembled at the taste,
The mead of Thought's prophetic endlessness.
Note: A recitation can be heard here.