Anthony Hecht

Summer 1989

It is the dream of a shepherd king or child,
And is without all blemish except one:
That it supposes all virtue to stem
From pure simplicity. But many cures
Of body and of spirit are the fruit
Of cultivated thought. Kindness itself
Depends on what we call consideration.
Your fear of corruption is a fear of thought,
Therefore you would be thoughtless. Think again.
Consider the perfect hexagrams of snow,
Those broadcast emblems of divinity,
That prove in their unduplicable shapes
Insights of Thales and Pythagoras.
If you must dream, dream of the ratio
Of Nine to Six to Four Palladio used
To shape those rooms and chapels where the soul
Imagines itself blessed, and finds its peace
Even in chambers of the Malcontenta,
Those just proportions we hypostatize
Not as flat prairies but the City of God.

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