from Interview With Robert Creeley
ROBERT CREELEY: Dilmun was a very curious place. It shows up on the lading seals of many of the surviving artifacts from Sumeria. But it's non-existent. It's a city that doesn't have ostensible reality. The nearest one gets to it is that it seems to be paradise in some particular sense, but how can you have a ship coming from paradise? With lading? Could be Paradise, Kansas. But it's not that kind of a name, it's a very specific name.
[Cyrus] Gordon was speaking about the fact that Christianity was the mercantile religion—in effect quickly
put together as a bridge, and that's why it was successful. Say presently you’re trying to make a
bridge between the Palestinians and the Israelis. You'd think of some third thing you could be that
could somehow not threaten either party, and that’s what everyone would become, like Episcopalians
or something. It's funny, but near. Christianity didn't have the tradition or the investment that
Judaism had, and also it was the dominant port religion, so that most of the businesspersons rushed
to become Christians, knowing they could deal with the Mediterranean trade much more freely, and
so on and so forth. After the talk he invited questions, and I remember there was one very classic,
pleasant graduate student who said, "Professor Gordon, you speak of the Greeks" "gods" and "goddesses."
What do you think the Greeks meant by these figures?" And I remember Gordon stops
dead and says, "What do you mean 'meant'?" "What did they symbolize for the Greeks? What did
they represent or stand for?" "They didn’t stand for anything. They were real." And the guy's sort
of back on his heels. And Gordon says, "No, you’ve got to understand, the Greeks...those gods
were real." You go out, and you see Harry for lunch. Could be Athena for lunch. These were not imaginary or symbolic figures. These were functioning, actual presences. It didn’t matter whether or
not you ever saw them...you had faith.
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