[From HUMANITAS, Volume VI, No. 1, Fall 1992/Winter 1993 © National Humanities Institute, Washington, DC USA]

Line Against Circle

Peter Viereck

I. Tempest or Music
II. The Two Again

. . .

I. Tempest or Music

1. (a progress rhythm)

Solidity rushes on.
You move in a moving maze.
Vertigo—praise it—alone
Stays. Cling to it tight.
Man is a flare-up of clay;
Shall he wait to be snuffed, shall he run?
"Run!" the windows invite;
"Express, expand while you may."
Man is a skidding of light
Bogging in clouds, a daze
Of longings and fruits, a stone
Thrown by thrower unknown.
Praise elation of flight.

2. (a Tory rhythm)

Solidity rushes on—
Brittle ghost at play—
Onto the window bars. 
"Stand, wait!" they invite; 
"Compress to the core while you may." 
Center and farthest sun, 
Thrower and throw are one; 
Pattern stays. 
Alternate heart-beat of light
Grooms and dishevels stars. 
Rest in that heart. Praise
Repose of flight. 

II. The Two Again

Come one, circling in islands. 
Came one, striding from shores. 
One spell is of silence. 
One spell is of words.

Came one, condenser of intensities, 
The be, the grow, the deafmute round of trees. 
Came one committing lengthwise in his striding, 
No ring of hiding, no abiding wall. 

The first is perfect peace. But small, but small. 
The second dives and falters, 
Darer of waters and
Discoverer of everything but peace.

Came one inward in islands. 
Came one outreached a wall. 
Circle and line, the two and never twin. 
Comes one, some day, doing and

Laughing at doing? Free from din
Of silence as of words? 
When comes one perfect in islands
And loud and long on shores?

Copyright © 2010 National Humanities Institute
Updated 29 July 2010