SIR THOMAS BROWNE ON THE SOURCE OF OUR DIS EASE
For at the eye the Pyramidal rayes
from the object, receive
a decussation, and so strike
a second base upon the Retina
or hinder coat, the proper
organ of Vision; wherein
the pictures from objects are
to the paper, or wall in the dark
chamber; after the decussation
of the rayes at the hole
of the hornycoat,
and their refraction upon
the Christalline humour,
answering the foramen
of the window, and the convex
or burning-glasses, which
refract the rayes that enter it.
And so strike, a decussation
received from the object's
Pyramidal rayes at the eye.
LET THE TULIP
Let the tulip give meat, someone cried. From
the furthest point of forgotteness. Then
in my American mouth everything
tasted American. After we stuffed
the sky into a caul. A fingerprint
into a printer. Until it was said:
Let there be said. The bomb, from the furthest
point of forgetfulness. I tracked a dry
hymn many miles before I knew: Eat
not of thy psalm. For a splinter of sun.
Maybe we slipped into a caesura
which keeps slipping. Into the tongue. Each time
I blink: I'm awake. Blink: I'm asleep. We
sunder under the sun. Let it be said.
"Let the Tulip" was inspired by a photograph of a nuclear bomb test. Samuel Johnson had this to say of Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682): "His style is, indeed, a tissue of many languages." Indeed. "Sir Thomas Browne on the Source of Our Dis Ease" is largely a found poem drawn from his The Garden of Cyrus (1658).