• From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2006 09:12:27 -0700



There are Biblical allusions in this that make it interesting.  One can't
mistake the "hem of the garment" reference.  A lady with an issue of blood
couldn't get close enough to Christ to get his attention but she got close
enough to tough the hem of his garment.  She thought, if only I can touch
the hem of his garment I will be healed, and she was.  Christ felt power go
out from him and turned to ask who it was that touched him.  Merwin inverts
the action.  It is the hem of the garment that is seeking to touch Merwin.  


So we back up and think of the rain and think of the Biblical reference in
which the rain "falls on the just and the unjust alike."  It is a blessing
to everyone regardless of how good they are.  


Then there is the common Christian belief which is probably a heresy that
one needs to work his way to heaven.  It isn't the grace of Christ that he
seeks but recognition of his own merit.  Merwin's emphasis upon knowledge is
like that.  There are so many Christian denominations, how can I know enough
to pick the right one?  How can I learn enough to choose the right doctrine
to qualify me for heaven?  


Merwin in the end accepts grace.   He thought about trying to know but
didn't want to wait.  And then there is another Biblical reference.  Christ
healed a man born blind.  Merwin thinks he is like that and wants to be
touched in that way so that he will not merely see, but see God's beauty.


This makes me wonder about Merwin's religious beliefs.  The first poem you
posted seemed rather pantheistic.  I suppose this one can be seen as
pantheistic as well.  It is the rain he appeals to and not God -- unless the
rain is God in a pantheistic sense.


There is nothing sexual in this, nothing Rod McKuen-ish.  I see Chris Bruce
is taking your comment seriously.  I didn't.  I thought you were merely
throwing that in, in case someone was tempted to think you too maudlin or







From:  Mike Geary
Sent: Sunday, October 15, 2006 7:27 AM
Subject: [lit-ideas] SUNDAY POEM -- SPIRITUAL SEX




You reach me out of the age of the air


falling toward me

each one new

if any of you has a name

it is unknown


but waited for you here

that long 

for you to fall through it knowing nothing


hem of the garment

do not wait

until I can love all that I am to know

for maybe that will never be


touch me this time

let me love what I cannot know

as the man born blind may love color

until all that he loves

fills him with color


           -- W. S. Merwin





Mike Geary




----- Original Message ----- 

From: Stan <mailto:writeforu2@xxxxxxxxxxx>  Spiegel 

To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 

Sent: Sunday, October 15, 2006 12:46 AM

Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Poetry x 2 = Sabbatical


Lawrence said:

>> Perhaps there is nothing you want to learn from Merwin.<<


Mike replied:

No, I just want to use him for my Spiritual Sexual needs.



"Spiritual sexual needs." 

Now there's a package of needs I've never considered. Do I have them too? Or
are they only available to Southerners? What do they consist of, Mike? Would
you elaborate? 


Ah! Are you talking about intercourse with God? 


Stan Spiegel


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