gershon hepner

Rookie - 10 Points (5 3 38 / leipzig)

Eternity - Poem by gershon hepner

Eternity bores Sylvia Plath: she never
wants to get there. All the gods know, she
declares, is destinations. Very clever,
but hearing about being bored bores me,
and I believe the gods know far more than
the destinations that we cannot see,
remaining hidden not to them, but man.

It’s their omniscience, contrasting with our ig-
norance that causes us to view gods with
resentment, thinking that it’s infra dig
to treat them as if not part of a myth,
but real, and living for eternity,
which we consider also as de trop,
preferring transience of modernity
of which the gods don’t seem to know.

Immortality is particles
of clouds and leaves, said Sylvia, which is true,
but poems, books and even articles
may sometimes also be immortal. Do
you think there’s any point in what Ms. Plath
opined about eternity and des-
tinations? Immortality’s weird math
says almost nothing to me, more or less.

We drink acetic acid from a tin,
yes, even while we drink fine Chardonnay,
and though we think that we’ve abolished sin,
we lose hope in the middle of the way
that leads us through the dark wood to old age,
because we think there’s nothing more to say
to anybody, and don’t hear the voices
of the gods, who go their own sweet way
while we are left alone to make our choices.

Inspired by Rosanna Warren’s contribution to “A Symposium of Foresaken Favorites” in The Threepenny Review. S[ring 2009. She describes coming back to the poems of Sylvia Plath which she discovered when a teenager, at a time when her teacher could make no sense of lines from “The Couriers” like “Acetic acid in a sealed tin.” criticizes Plath for overuse of the word “terrible, ” but cites some lines with approval, including “All the god know is destinations, ” “Eternity bores me. I never wanted it, ” “Only they (burnt letters, which she calls “carbon birds” and “coal angels”) have nothing to say to anybody. / I have seen to that, ” and, “Telling the particles of the clouds, the leaves, the water/ What immortality is. That is immortal.”


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 11, 2009

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