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Now let us see what significance Oppen chooses to emphasize in his treatment of that unique moment in history when Moses led the tribes of Hebrews out of pharaonic Egypt into the "one-way time" of recorded history:

Were the adults        We dreamed to each other Miracle of the children The brilliant children         Miracle

Of their brilliance         Miracle of

In a real sense, this poem emphasizes a pre-Mosaic, more ancient aspect of the historical event; it is the "miracle of," the "brilliance" of, and the childish innocence surrounding the event to which Oppen directs our attention in the poem, and this accords with what Eliade describes as the "archaic" mythical conception of time held by the Semitic tribes of the ancient Near East. As Eliade says of this more primitive conception of events which stresses the miraculous rather than the historically accurate,

It matters little if the formulas and images through which the primitive expresses "reality" seem childish and even absurd to us. It is the profound meaning of primitive behavior that is revelatory: this behavior is governed by belief in an absolute reality opposed to the profane world of "unrealities. . . ."

For Oppen, the world of events, of historical time, is the "profane world" of unrealities; time and again he opposes the "miracle" of childish innocence to, this profane world of artifacts and empire.