Mar 17 • 4M

From "The Second Temple"

Excerpt from The Twelve-Gated City

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Appears in this episode

Anthony Esolen
Poetry Aloud will help you learn how to read poetry with your ears. Unlike children with bad table manners, poetry is meant to be heard and not just seen. Join Anthony Esolen every other week (or so) as he introduces and discusses a longish poem and then reads it aloud.
Episode details

This week’s Poetry Aloud is an excerpt from my book-length poem, The Twelve-Gated City (in progress; © Anthony M. Esolen). The selection is from “The Second Temple,” sixth of the poem’s thirty-three dramatic monologues. The setting is this: the Jews have returned from 70 years in captivity in Babylon, and they are beginning to build the sacred Temple. Our speaker is a very old man, now blind, who remembers what the old Temple was like, and who has some presentiment of what is going to come. Our passage below comes at the end of the old man’s monologue.

My sins He put away,
And from that time I have not been alone,
Not when I lost my wife and our two sons,
Not when a cloud like a bright haze first fell
Upon these eyes, and gave them knowledge of
Unutterable glory.  Rachel here
Shares what I know, though neither of us can tell
What it is; we must be content, and pray.
And Jeremiah in his deepest woe
Saw – and it folded up his words in flame –
What we shall do today, for God has chosen…

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