Posted: Monday, March 9, 2009 | |

I was completely, horribly wrong; I do love reading poetry. I just didn't know what else existed...moments like these make me want to weep with gratitude for my father and his original word-emprisonment. He consumes words like I only became obvious to me tonight, here in this cold cherry office when we talked of providence and the way strange supernatural things have followed me since I was a little girl.

Then he brought me this;

W.B YEATS, Sailing to Byzantium

THAT is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
- Those dying generations - at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

..............and suddenly, the world feels a little less poetry hostile. I'm ensorcelled, enraptured, and I will probably be swallowed up the several poetry anthologies my dad loaned to me.

Oh heavy New England, you press things into me...yes!

Oh god and the books so old there's still;

Philip O'Connor

and there is this hilarious poem titled; Writing in England Now, (1920s) From a Commercially Unsucessful point of view, but it's nowhere on the web to copy...

oh god I am in love with a book full of dead men

John Heath Stubbs!

And god the internet doesn't know them yet, for us poetry began with the confessionals (plath, sexton) with a somewhat abstract beginning in tennyson

and I just discovered the root of all modern shit poetry, in Peter Porter's poems...his were not lazy, that's the key, but the rhetoric is the same

my universe just exploded. or imploded?
(it feels alot like an orgasm)

I am grateful for this time away, I want to catch it and devour it at all hours. And the poem my father bookmarked from Leaves of Grass, by Whitman;

In midnight sleep of many a face of anguish,
Of the look at first of the mortally wounded, (of that indescribable look,)
Of the dead on their backs with arms extended wide,
I dream, I dream, I dream.

Of scenes of Nature, fields and mountains,
Of skies so beauteous after a storm, and at night the moon so
unearthly bright,
Shining sweetly, shining down, where we dig the trenches and
gather the heaps,
I dream, I dream, I dream.

Long have they pass'd, faces and trenches and fields,
Where through the carnage I moved with a callous composure, or away
from the fallen,
Onward I sped at the time--but now of their forms at night,
I dream, I dream, I dream.

----I learn about my father this way, the only way for us.

Whitman caught me here:

One Hour to Madness and Joy

ONE hour to madness and joy!
O furious! O confine me not!
(What is this that frees me so in storms?
What do my shouts amid lightnings and raging winds mean?)

O to drink the mystic deliria deeper than any other man!
O savage and tender achings!
(I bequeath them to you, my children,
I tell them to you, for reasons, O bridegroom and bride.)

O to be yielded to you, whoever you are, and you to be yielded to me, in defiance of the
O to return to Paradise! O bashful and feminine!
O to draw you to me—to plant on you for the first time the lips of a determin’d

O the puzzle—the thrice-tied knot—the deep and dark pool! O all untied and
O to speed where there is space enough and air enough at last!
O to be absolv’d from previous ties and conventions—I from mine, and you from
O to find a new unthought-of nonchalance with the best of nature!
O to have the gag remov’d from one’s mouth!
O to have the feeling, to-day or any day, I am sufficient as I am!

O something unprov’d! something in a trance!
O madness amorous! O trembling!
O to escape utterly from others’ anchors and holds!
To drive free! to love free! to dash reckless and dangerous!
To court destruction with taunts—with invitations!
To ascend—to leap to the heavens of the love indicated to me!
To rise thither with my inebriate Soul!
To be lost, if it must be so!
To feed the remainder of life with one hour of fulness and freedom!
With one brief hour of madness and joy.
caught, caught me. I love this, love the wildness from which I came...parents with legacies that begin in the poor south before, during, after the race wars...the wildness that inevitably poured from New England's haunted woods and into my very being, and I could never forget it, not even for an hour and I wish I could touch you word to eyes or hand to arm and give you one jolt of this electricity. I can't imagine anything else than being left alone, than being born in a wilderness still 300 years after the fact, that is my America, that's what makes me sing, and to leave it and to return makes it sweeter.

I will always fall into paroxysms of joy from words, words alone. I love beauty in all forms but this is my raw fuel, can you see?

the air feels wild, seductive, weighted, and I'm being lured into another night of making love to words and being made love to, but now I know not to fight it as if I had any inkling, as an outsider, even a hint of that ecstasy...I would sell my soul for it.

perhaps I did.

It was worth it.


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