Archive for January, 2011

Is attempting much, or being accused of it, simply for the forced sophistication of doing it, too much to ask for? Regard this excerpt from John Kinsella on J. H. Prynne: “It is a strong example of the Prynne lyric in which tensions between external social, political, and economic forces and interior, personal, emotive, and reflective experience come into play. The tone is almost of a love poem, yet there is a darkish irony at work as well.”  I will take the world and my own world and grind them together, for the smell of grinding gears?

When a piece of poetry is ground up then wound down it is painstakingly obvious to one. Why can’t we champion effortlessness, or the supple surface of serenity?

Here is the poem Kinsella is referring to.

Under her brow the snowy wing-case
      delivers truly the surprise
of days which slide under sunlight
          past loose glass in the door
      into the reflection of honour spread
through the incomplete, the trusted. So
      darkly the stain skips as a livery
of your pause like an apple pip,
      the baltic loved one who sleeps.
Or as syrup in a cloud, down below in
      the cup, you excuse each folded
cry of the finch’s wit, this flush
      scattered over our slant of the
          day rocked in water, you say
      this much. A waver of attention at
the surface, shews the arch there and
          the purpose we really cut;
      an ounce down by the water, which
in cross-fire from injustice too large
      to hold he lets slither
                                            from starry fingers
      noting the herbal jolt of cordite
and its echo: is this our screen, on some
      street we hardly guessed could mark
an idea bred to idiocy by the clear
      sight-lines ahead. You come in
          by the same door, you carry
what cannot be left for its own
      sweet shimmer of reason, its false blood;
the same tint I hear with the pulse it touches
      and will not melt. Such shading
of the rose to its stock tips the bolt
      from the sky, rising in its effect of what
motto we call peace talks. And yes the
      quiet turn of your page is the day
          tilting so, faded in the light.



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Why is it, in the verse I write,

That never do I mention you?

It is so that, myself, I might

From yours be ever absent too.

Clement Marot

trans. Norman R. Shapiro


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