First Things - Religion and Public Life First Things on your tablet & mobile
Login forgot password? | register Close

The appearance of perfection:

Chiaroscuro come to an August day

Wafted by van Rijn.

Against the waving sky is the great tree

Icon for what, I do not wish to know.

Icon for what I do not wish to know.

What I cannot defeat I will to learn to meet.

Measure with level gaze on ordained ground;

Parry, attack and parry, sabers clanging

Along the warning lines.

This shadow fencer is unwearying

Nor will his blade aim for my side or arm:

It is heart’s blood he seeks.

So be it. This is an honorable stain

And I may give in kind.

Five points in all”

A venerable number.

Right deep I bear these wounds into the sun

And lean against the tree.

And lean against the tree.