Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Ave Maria Sans Photograph

Gunot's Ave Maria on the radio
Christmas eve again is here
Christ Jesus imagined for ages though
no photo's available where
one might contemplate his visage
while pondering his message

no one texting from the manger
there's no YouTube Magi clip
& what's really rather stranger
Google Maps touched not the trip
there's some post about a star
I can't see it from my car

1 comment:

David Raphael Israel said...

I received a question backchannel about one line of this poem.

I replied, as copied below. Sharing it here, in case of interest to some reader.


The line is "Google Maps touched not the trip" --

This means, Google Maps was not used by the Magi when they were looking for the place where they would find the Christ child.

One by one, the poem notes how none of the tools we use now were used then -- and thus we have no record in terms that are now part of our way of understanding the world. Something like that anyway -- "touched not" meaning, was not to any degree involved with

Toward the end, the time separation (that age versus this age) somewhat crumbles. The poets says "there's some post [e.g. a Facebook or blog post] about a star / [but] I can't see it from my car" Of course this is a highly ironic utterance. Of course I can't see it, since it's happening not now, but 2,000 years ago. But the poem is largely about this distance of time . . .

If we are to take the old tale as real, we have to imagine it in terms we can relate to. So in another aspect, the poem is as much about our current technology as it is about that event in spiritual history. We now use all these tools as a way of substantiating the reality of events in the world. If there is an event undocumented in this way, is it still real?

The voice of the poet is extremely naive. Or puts on a facade of naivete. Or plays with a pose of naivete. Or something.