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An age with sunspots.

We have to live in this age, not just name it. It has been some time of accelerations. new velocities, quickening levels. It has been as if seasons could come and depart in minutes, and ordinary vegetables would ripen in hours after planting, and we would ride a sunspot easily in an afternoon like a wave taking us to a beach. At the same time, there have been several generations of local

magistracy, but these ancillary arbiters seem unimportant laid next to volcanoes in the oceans, receding megagalactic phenomena, approaching cometary objects, and sunspots. Yet by our nature, we live always in two worlds simultaneously, the world of ourselves and our short communications with each other, and the unexplainably immense world which humbles us in every dimension we can perceive. We employ our few senses in both, but the world outside us is so complicatedly simple, it rhythmically disappoints us, and we display periodic and petulant losses of faithfulness in our various ceremonies of inventions. It is faithfulness, however, which keeps the hands of our minds

together. The alterations of our beliefs in the forces of the world we do not understand, and call sacred, are not so grievous as is our apparent loss of faith in each other, which disturbs our species as an earthquake does, opening faults in nearly all of our contracts. It is not even clear if this, more than any other, is a good age or a bad age. It has been, for example, an abstracted age and a vicarious age, side by side with those hideous acts of real catastrophe, predatory insects going north, armies going south, droughts and pestilences, some originating in Africa, and Antarctica accompanied by powerful new medicines, unusual adjoined flavors, and novel devices for speaking to each other. It may not be a great age, this interval of ours, but tremendous things are going through it, and the age that follows, of course, is likely to be more lucid. We have to live in this age, not just look at it.
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Author:Casselman, Barry
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:May 1, 1993
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