Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I often feel I am well-versed in poetry, given the predilections of my partner and many of my friends, and my own personal pleasure and interest in the medium. But what I need to remember is that I am not well-versed at all -- what I am is possibly better read in poetics than the average person.

This would certainly be an untrue statement in the early twentieth century, which was a golden age for poetry as a medium read by many, regardless of education, station, or what-have-you.

So, yeah, at any rate, I think I can definitely fake it really well at a cocktail party.

I am meditating on this as of late because I have just recently began reading the work of the late poet (and librarian!) Robin Blaser, one of the key figures in the San Francisco Renaissance. I had heard his name plenty of times, but I only recently have really taken a look at his poetry.

I know!

Will have to delve further into his work to make any deep declarative assessments, but as of now I can say I am feeling his earlier work enormously, and this one in particular speaks to me in a profoundly personal way. Enjoy.

Herons

I saw cold thunder in the grass,
the wet black trees of my humanity, my skin.

How much love lost hanging there
out of honesty.
I catch at those men who chose
to hang in the wind
out of honesty.
It is the body lies with its skin --

Robed in my words I say that the snake
changes its skin out of honesty.

And they
hanged there with some symmetry
died young
like herons proud in their landscape.

Now it is age crept in, nobody younger knows
the quick-darting breath is
our portion of honesty.


(1956)

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1 Comments:

Blogger Trevor said...

I really love that poem too! I am reminded of something Borges said along the lines of "reading is always more important than writing--it's the more difficult pursuit" or something to this effect. Thanks as always for writing such interesting posts!

January 10, 2012 at 10:21:00 PM PST  

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