Poetic Influence No. 2: “An Eternity”

        Archibald MacLeish’s poem “An Eternity” heavily influenced my obsession with time, and the idea that the present is all that we ever get.  I addressed this concept throughout my entire collection of poetry, and specifically in my poem “The Present.”  Like MacLeish, I see the past and future as realms only reachable through the present, or now.  Without this moment, there can be no past, or future.  That being the case, both past and future flow from the ever progressing present.  Like holograms projected from the present, the past and future both exist and do not exist at the same time.  Here is how MacLeish delves into the topic:

An Eternity

by Archibald MacLeish

There is no dusk to be,
There is no dawn that was,
Only there’s now, and now,
And the wind in the grass.

Days I remember of
Now in my heart, are now;
Days that I dream will bloom
White peach bough.

Dying shall never be
Now in the windy grass;
Now under shooken leaves
Death never was.

        One of the great aspects of poetry is that like art, it can be interpreted multiple ways.  I see this poem as dealing with time, and the present, and containing a seize the day element.  Others, though, may see a poem wrestling with faith and rational comprehension.  In the second scenario, MacLeish’s poem may relate more to my poem “The Journey Concludes…” than to “The Present.”  Just like beauty, though, interpretation is in the eye of the beholder….


Photo by Elizabeth McCullough

Leave a comment


    • Cody McCullough

       /  May 27, 2013

      I’m glad you liked this post. Thanks for your comment.

  1. I interpreted the poem as meaning that even the dead are present in the now through our memory of them. Great post Cody! 😀

    • Cody McCullough

       /  May 28, 2013

      Great interpretation. You have a great eye for detail. I’m glad you like this post.

  2. Thanks for stopping on my blog and liking it

  3. I really like your poetry. Thanks For sharing.

    • Cody McCullough

       /  June 15, 2013

      Thank you for following my blog. I’m glad you like my poetry.

  4. i love being able to interpret a poem many ways – sometimes i believe this is what makes a ‘really’ great poem. i have missed reading your posts – sorry about that – busy with work, kids and demons:) i am getting caught up with you today!


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