After spending 9 days back in 2001 in Haifa and visiting several times the Baha'i gardens, terraces and the Shrine of the Bab with its golden dome, I wrote the following prose-poem. I hope this short piece of writing conveys some of the spirit and beauty of this inspiring place in Israel. It seems to me to be an appropriate inclusion at this 'tripadvisor site.'
Visionary poetry can live with the uncertaintly principle, but not with total skepticism or with the belief of many of the newest critics that poetry is not “about” anything. As it has been said “where there is no vision, the people perish.”(Proverbs 29:18) Without vision behind it this poetry, I’m sure, would not have been written. All perception is theory-laden and we need the power of symbols to extend our perceptual models. Perception itself is a dynamic searching for meaning. Visionary poetry begins in perception, in the ‘suchness’ of things, in us as participants, in the last two centuries, since Shaykh Ahmad left his home to prepare the path for the Bab, about 1792, and since Wordsworth began writing his poetry about the same time. -Ron Price with thanks to Hyatt Waggoner, American Visionary Poetry, Louisiana State UP, Baton Rouge, 1982, pp.1-18.
Something out there on that hill,
quite beyond what I see, running
way down to the ocean depths,
identities of a spiritual world,
beyond my praise, an eternity
of men and women, a thought
rising, calm, like the stars shining
immortal, luminous, real vision,
taking possession of my soul,
celestial light, mystery and weight,
a divine perplexity, the infinite hidden
in the infinite to this peculiarly intimate
bit of world, this joyous seer. Flood tide
above me. I see you, at last, face to face!
Thousands go up with loving and thirsting eyes,
fine spokes of light leading to the unseen.
Grand is the scene here to me
and the unseen buds hidden under the terraces
and marble like babes in wombs, latent, compact,
sleeping, billions of billions beckoning—
out beyond Mars-beyond all these computers,
engineering miracles, medical breakthroughs,
the staggeringly complex knowledge explosion
and that burnt match in the urinal1.
Not just memories of spiritual gates2 here,
intricate iron tracery, real and bathed in blood.
No need for me to create a new Bible
for one has come, spring-board , luminescent
source that helps me stab at truth,
evoke a common consciousness, an innocence,
an absolute beauty amidst all the tears,
the broken bones, all the boredom and chouder.
1 Hart Crane in ibid., p. 78