Thursday, January 08, 2009
Wanting Sumptuous Heavens
by Robert Bly
No one grumbles among the oyster clans,
And lobsters play their bone guitars all summer.
Only we, with our opposable thumbs, want
Heaven to be, and God to come, again.
There is no end to our grumbling; we want
comfortable earth and sumptuous Heaven.
But the heron standing on one leg in the bog
drinks his dark rum all day and is content.
from the New Yorker
reprinted in Best American Poetry 2008, p. 17
This is Bly's note about this poem in the back of the anthology:
‘Wanting Sumptuous Heavens’ is written in a form
called the ramage. This form requires eight lines of roughly ten syllables each. The poem is held together, so to speak, by certain particular sounds that are repeated in the course of the poem. In this case, the sound um, as in ‘grumbles’ and ‘summer’ appears in each of the couplets twice and sometimes more, so that even though the poem does not offer any end rhymes, it is built on a number of interior rhymes. “I like the delicious flavor of the small sounds reappearing like raisins in a muffin.”
This is definitely something that I am currently trying. I think it makes the poem a little (but not TOO) mysterious, and introduces fresh images that are very thought-provoking. And the whole poem would be worth it for only the heron's dark rum. Good night.
at 11:37 PM