Friday, September 15, 2006

A Burden Lifted

Autumnal inspiration (and the influence of Acquainted With the Night) continues:

Burden: 2 a.m.

Why hast thou set me as a mark against
thee, so that I am a burden to myself?
—Job 7:20

The bottle stands
empty on the table, sucked dry
an hour ago. The room spins
less at the floor, so there
he lies, eyes slitted
and pained by the luminous
dial of the electric clock:
Every second throbs and hums.
His tongue lies thick in his mouth,
tasting of something dead.
Dust lies upon dust under
the bed, and strings of dust
hang from the slats.
For now I shall sleep in the dust;
and thou shalt seek me in the morning,
but I shall not be.

September 14, 2006

I also wanted to share this quotation from the great American poet James Wright:

"[H.R.] Hays [translator of South American poets] has drawn our attention to such men as Neruda and Vallejo. To do so is a moral act as well as an artistic one. It is a way of forcing American readers and writers to consider that there is a difficult nobility in poetry which commands our whole spiritual attention, and that this nobility, by its very existence, is a rebuke to the triviality, the nit-picking, the politicking, and the giggling pseudo-surrealism that threaten to waste and destroy our hope for a serious life."

My thanks to my dear friend Naomi for providing this.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

This Room, This World

A new poem:

Improvisation on a Line From Weldon Kees
For Naomi

If this room is our world, then let
that other world be damned. This
faint light on your face is all I need
to live by, your face the only book
I need to read. Let day be damned, and
daylight that stings the eyes, illuminates
the cracks and clutter, and silences
the crickets that rasp a lullaby sweeter
than the morning birds’ orisons.

September 11, 2006

The Kees poem that inspired this is "If This Room Is Our World." It can be found in his Collected Poems, or in the wonderful anthology Acquainted With the Night, a collection of poems about insomnia, where I encountered it this time. If you don't know the poems of Weldon Kees, you should make the effort to become acquainted. He is far less well known than his midcentury contemporaries like Lowell, Berryman, and Jarrell, but I come back to his work over and over. No one has captured alienation, anomie, and that sense of being out-of-time any better.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Grand Unveiling!

I now have an official seal for this blog! Get your own at Official Seal Generator.