Sunday, March 29, 2015



Watching recent action
In a movie I noted one
Prominent actress, wholesome,
Competent, lovely.  One could
Reasonably go to war knowing
Young women like this were    
Somewhere behind, and if her

Wholesomeness was a scripted
Fiction, no matter.  We’ve
Rushed to war, some of us,
To emulate a Marine, say,
Portrayed by an actor who
Never left Hollywood, but real
All the same in the sense

Of the image in the mind
One needs to rush upon
Other men with bayonets fixed,
Or conjured on a dark
Night hunkered down in
A fox hole when one
Needs a reason to die.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015



Stevens was influenced by Whitman
Or so Bloom says though Stevens
Never read Whitman or so he said.
With this being insisted, most of
Which I don’t recall how can
I be sure?  I was told Leopardi
Is like me – a gentle way

Of saying I am like him,
But I don’t read Italian and
Don’t recall reading a translation;
So I bought the text by Galassi.
I don’t see myself in Whitman
Stevens or Leopardi.  In one sense
I am more warlike but in another

They assert themselves
More than I ever would, not
Caring that much for the world
Nor what it thinks, mistrusting
Whatever is current or
Believed, even my denial
That I have been infected.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015



Arminius craved freedom,
Emerson too as do I –
Though not from Susan: her
Medication, her need for doctors
And tests nor from the
Passage of time glad to
Be past those youthful

Muddles made of relationships
When I wasn’t willing to
Listen to older minds nor even
Simple sense – but freedom to
Think through impediments and
Past baffles to whatever I chose;
Or have I been a dupe of fate

Choosing the tropes that
Appeared unbidden in conformance
To my genetic disposition?
I looked for a trope just now and found
A hole in a curtain. Even so, I’m on
The upper floor.  Who lacking my
Confession would know it’s there?

I need something larger to yawn
Backward throughout the time of
Susan’s illness.  I can’t remember all
The steps I saw it take to waste her,
But I shrink back from the edge of
What I do, God giving me the
Freedom to see it and be afraid.

Monday, March 2, 2015



It’s been raining for two days
In San Jacinto – strangely --
In the midst of drought --
Sirens remind the rest
Of us we don’t know
How to drive on streets
Wet and slippery; which

Is true of any reductionist
Point of view: mere laziness!
We could know if we
Looked out and thought,
But we don’t and instead
Glory in laughter-producing
Words, laughter to end

Dialogue, to stop further
Thought, settling itself
Back in self-contained
Contentment, a pigeon
Banking in light rain
Against a gray sky
And vanishing cry.               

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Emerson and Surprise

I’ve begun Harold Bloom’s Wallace Stevens, The Poems of our climate. On page 5 he writes, “I return to Emerson’s lecture on The Poet, where he says of Pegasus, ‘Surprise and wonder always fly beside him. There is no poetry where they are not.’ The same emphasis upon surprise is at the center of the later, rambling essay, Poetry and Imagination, where after rightly observing that ‘conversation is not permitted without tropes,’ Emerson more daringly makes of natural change only a series of tropes: ‘The poet accounts all productions and changes of Nature as the nouns of language, uses them representatively, too well pleased with their ulterior to value much their primary meaning. Every new object so seen gives a shock of agreeable surprise.’”

I have never appreciated Emerson but can’t remember why. At one time I thought Whitman wonderful (as Bloom still does) but Emerson struck me as someone who studied Eastern religion.  I thought why study Emerson when I can study Eastern religion for myself? But this passage and a few others quoted by Bloom are interesting. I confess that I feel as Emerson (via Bloom) suggests when I am most . . . intensely . . . a poet.  That was some of what was going on in the poem “in the wind.” Even though I myself have been as argumentative and insistent upon logic as anyone (in past forum discussions), I don’t feel that way at the present time, a time when I’m concentrating upon poetry. Besides, I thought, the words people fight over don’t really mean much, or rather their meanings don’t count for much in light of the tropes one can bring about in a poem – at least not enough for someone to say “I am too offended to stay here any longer” – and I hasten to confess that I’ve done that very thing in the past – when I was someone else.