The Desert Southwest (III): Preserving History
Creational Theology (I): Terrestrial Christianity

Passion (A Poem in Memory of Beryl Markham)

Passion
(in Memory of Beryl Markham)

Suspended here, wingtips touching heaven,
You savored glory, for a moment, in your
World without walls. Yet
Plummet you did, to the mundane and earthy, to
     Spend your passion.

Now in this African night, in the shadow of
Karen's Ngong Hills,
What memories do you keep for yourself?

Do you dream of running barefoot and naked in a
Primeval forest, in the vanquished Mau,
by Masai, nurtured by Nandi --
     Edenic in ideal?

Do you watch the herons and kingfishers and trotters
Ablaze in the sky over Lake Naivasha?
Do you wonder about their confident freedom, their
Secure flight, there at the door to
     Hell's Gate?

Are you placing your stake again, with the
Untamed and savage, on that rebel Messenger?
(How is it that you seduce the Splendid Outcast
Yet cannot still your
     Fearful Heart?)

A fitful waking, you hear again the
Waves (or are they waves?) that
Lick your fragile fuselage, the
Unbearable silence
     Prophesizing Death.

It was all so long ago, so long, yet
Here you remain, and wait,
East of Eden, in this
Nairobi night, in all your
     Horrible freedom.

[This poem was inspired by my reading of West With the Night, an excellent memoir of life in East Africa, by Beryl Markham, a contemporary of Isak Dension a/ka/a Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa.]

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