Tuesday, November 19, 2013

19 November 2013

George Oppen [New Directions]

from George Oppen's New Collected Poems:

Discrete Series

This room,
                    the circled wind
Straight air of dawn
                                            low noon
The darkness. Not within
The mound of these
                                            is anything
To fit the prying of your lips
Or feed their wide bright flowering.

And yet will movement so exactly fit
Your limbs ——
                as snow
Fills the vague intricacies of the day, unlit:
So will your arms
                                     fall in the space
Assigned to gesture
             (In the momentless air
              The distant adventurous snow.)

When, having entered ——
Your coat slips smoothly from your shoulders to the waiter:

How, in the face of this, shall we remember,
Should you stand suddenly upon your head
Your skirts would blossom downward

Like an anemone.

As I lift the glass to drink,
I smell the water: Suddenly,
The summer.

When my socks will be thick in my shoes

And the room's noise will go dim behind me
As I lean out a high window,

My hands on the stone.

Myth of the Blaze [excerpt]

night — sky           bird's            world
to know        to know            in my life to know

what I have said to myself

the dark to escape in brilliant highways
of the night sky, finally
why had they not

killed me why did they fire that warning
wounding cannon only the one round I hold a

because of this        lost to be lost        Wyatt's
lyric and Rezi's
running through my mind
in the destroyed (and guilty) Theatre
of the War        I'd cried
and remembered
boyhood       degradation           other
degradations and this crime I will not recover
from that landscape it will be in my mind
it will fill my mind and this is horrible
death bed        pavement         the secret taste
of being lost


clown in the birds'
world what names
(but my name)

. . .

read "The Mind's Own Place," Oppen's essay on poetics, here

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