An Interval of Five Tones Being the Dominant

An Interval of Five Tones Being the Dominant Poem

Five is the sum of this world figured by the senses,
and the tally of the planets to the naked eye,
four directions with one person wandering at the pivot.
Five is the head and hands and feet, the five wounds,
and the five loaves for the hunger of five thousand.

Torah has five books with twice five laws
inside an ark of shittimwood, the twice five curtains
of the tent, the scarlet, blue, and purple linen, stitched
with cherubim, the wooden pillars overlaid with gold
with hooks of gold and sockets made of brass.

After Empedocles, four elements made up the world,
tinged, Aristotle thought, with aether, called
in alchemy quintessence, which is five. The Five Wits,
once upon a time, were common sense (or mother wit),
imagination, fancy, estimation, and remembrance.

In the House of Number, one is union. Two division.
Three joins one more to the halves of being.
Four, two twos, divides division; four seeks judgment.
Five holds two and three in consort. In the pentad
mystery trembles under the star of calculation.

Five enumerates the hand. The fist unclenches and flames,
wobble from the upheld palm which is the sign of peace.
Five times a day, Muhammad cries out from his balconies.
Farewell and peace. Beside the corn, the passion flower
climbs the fence and wavers over a green bay full of starfish.

Brooks Haxton
from The Sun at Night

An Interval of Five Tones Being the Dominant

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