placed, through the 14th to the 19th century, by thencosmology which to a large extent determines our civilizationnand supplies its models. The old cosmology was alive,ndiverse, and provided man and communihes with anthropomorphicnmodels, themselves easily made into storiesn(mythology), with gods, men, and animals. Modern cosmologynis depersonalized and de-animated; it consists ofndead bodies on orbits, colliding and circling, cold mechanismsnrushing toward infinity. In short, these features ofnmodern cosmology do not speak to man; they are “frighteninglynsilent,” as Pascal described infinite space at the veryntime it was first conceived, in the 17th century.nWe have lived ever since beneath the rule of inflexiblenmechanical laws operating in an indifferent space wherenthere are no privileged locations or beings. Inevitably, thenregularly orbiting and gravitationally linked bodies constitutena model, which has had a tremendous effect on ournconcept of the individual, the State, and all the arts andnsciences. Citizenship is reduced to equality among so manynpredictable bodies in social orbit. The laws governingnsocieties reproduce mechanical sociological laws, withoutnhistoric roots. Architecture is dehumanized into large andnblind cement blocks, making it impossible to distinguish anmuseum, a school, an office building, or a church, all withnmechanically straight, functional lines, and without decoration.nThe walls are as speechless as machines. Nothingnstands out. Nothing catches the eye as it travels up andndown. In a medieval or Renaissance painting, a myriad ofnobjects crowd around the characters, themselves coverednwith richly colored wrappers: plants of all kinds, animals,nprecious stones and spices, amulets, dwarfs, hunting or lovenscenes. In contrast, consider a modern painting, andnobserve its nakedness, its lack of symbols, and the teemingnforms of life. With the exception of a Chagall, all thesenthings have been exiled, our forms which surround us andnpermeate our senses and sensibilities have been exiled asnsuperfluities; cold rationality prevails. To quote Chesterton,nmadness occurs when only rationality remains on thenscene.nDesacralization has now penetrated the Christiannchurches: the exclusion of Latin with its mysteries, as ifnprayer were an entirely rational mode of addressing thenDeity, tolerating no form of incantation, mystery, and, yes,nincomprehension. Music in churches follows modernnnorms: Church architecture deliberately ignores the divinenground plan, the requisite place of the altar, the centralitynof Christ. Christ himself is figured as a mad person, unablento carry the message of goodness and truth, an embodimentnof meaninglessness.nCompare this, in turn, with the long and glorious historynof Christ in art, on which a Chateaubriand could base, twoncenturies ago, an entire apologia of the Christian religion.nDepending on the nation and civilizational background,nChrist was the Good Pastor in the early centuries, thenPantocrator of Byzantine churches, the tortured man-god ofnGriinewald, the ascending figure of the Baroque. ThenMadonna is different yet the same in Michelangelo’s Pieta,nunder the brush of Raphael, or the Polish Virgin ofnCzgstochowa, and the Virgin of Guadalupe, in Mexico.nAll this sacrality, in art and life, followed certain rules.nThe sacred is always an object (for the eyes, the ears, thenSTILLnby Peter DalenDaughter, you are—if photographnmay tell the truth without the eyesntouching in shady velleities—nyour grandmother’s image and proof.nAs was your mother—with the same ifnFrom those old days the untrammelled gaze,na carefreeness that never goes,nthe lace but useless handkerchiefn— Speedwell after speedwell, pathnor hedge to tell each by its placenand time, the trellises, the plush,na future like a picnic heath.nIt’s more than mood, the hasty comb,nblouse loose, unceremonious . . .nI cannot swear to carefreeness,nbut hope you may, in time to come.nNot as a grey nostalgiastnbut knowing what had been yourselfn—Lass, must the held frame dissolve?nBoth hold the present in the past?nSpeed well, my only lass, speed well!nPeter Dale has written seven volumes of poetry, includingnThe Storms, Mortal Fire, and Too Much of Water.ntouch, the smell, the spiritual grasp), but it is a unique one,nalthough through its powerful emanations it affects everythingnin its presence. Yet the source is unmistakable. Nownour industrial society has endangered this uniqueness, sincenit accustomed us to the endless reproduction of the same,nwhether objects, images, the printed and spoken word.nWith every passing day, new inventions remove us from thendivine-human framework in which objects made sense andnin which the sacred justified also the other hierarchies ofnexistence.nTelevision, radio, and movies banalize story-telling,npresent empty stereotypes. The art of a Henry Moore, anCalder, a Giacometti accustom us to the formless, thenfrightening, the meaningless, so that inhumanity andnviolence appear as norms of existence. Machines bring us inncomfortable contact with sacred celebrations, as whenntelevision zeroes in on the priest’s tongue as he swallows thenhost. No mystery remains; man is removed from art, as bothnMalraux and Ortega assert. There are now novels (then”nouveau roman” in France, just rewarded with the Nobelnprize in the person of Claude Simon) which have entirelynbanished the human being and reduced the “story” tonobjects, seen through the “camera eye.”nThe question of resaeralization inevitably arises. Thenvarious formulae and recipes are, without exception, pho-nnnDECEMBER 1986 /13n