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Elizabeth Bishop

This celestial seascape, with white herons got up as angels,
flying high as they want and as far as they want sidewise 
in tiers and tiers of immaculate reflections; 
the whole region, from the highest heron 
down to the weightless mangrove island 
with bright green leaves edged neatly with bird-droppings 
like illumination in silver, 
and down to the suggestively Gothic arches of the mangrove roots
and the beautiful pea-green back-pasture 
where occasionally a fish jumps, like a wildflower 
in an ornamental spray of spray; 
this cartoon by Raphael for a tapestry for a Pope: 
it does look like heaven. 
But a skeletal lighthouse standing there 
in black and white clerical dress, 
who lives on his nerves, thinks he knows better. 
He thinks that hell rages below his iron feet, 
that that is why the shallow water is so warm, 
and he knows that heaven is not like this. 
Heaven is not like flying or swimming, 
but has something to do with blackness and a strong glare 
and when it gets dark he will remember something 
strongly worded to say on the subject. 

Added: 2 Mar 2002 | Last Read: 13 Dec 2018 3:37 PM | Viewed: 9050 times

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URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/3015/ | Viewed on 13 December 2018.
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