Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Poetics of Paradise

Do not let your intellect
be disturbed by mere names,
for Paradise has simply clothed itself
in terms that are familiar to you:
it is not because it is poor
that it has put on your imagery,
rather, your nature is far too weak to be able
to attain to its greatness,
and its beauties are much diminished
by being depicted in the pale colors with which you are familiar.

Ephrem the Syrian, Hymns on Paradise 11, 7. Brian Fitzgerald has a nice introductory essay on this point here (PDF).

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