Tuesday, June 04, 2013

"I moved like a dark star"

Mr. Show-off Turkey visited the meadow today.  He was showing off for another turkey that paid no attention and soon vanished into the woods. He kept it up for quite a while anyway and moved to the woods-edge where the bracken is unfurling its spring greens. How beautiful the world can be!

That rascally showoff and Harvard professor, Helen Vendler, put together an anthology in 1985 called The Harvard Book of Contemporary Poetry. I cannot really forgive that she did not include Robert Hass--whose reputation was well established by then--although so many members of his poetic generation were included: Louise Gluck, Robert Pinsky, Frank Bidart. and so forth. But there is really some good stuff here--seek out this book, used copies on Amazon for 1 cent, plus the $3,98 shipping. It's what I call a Penny Book, although it costs almost $4,00 for more than 400+ pages of great stuff. Here is one by Mark Strand. I like to follow the letter L and its sounds through this poem.

A Morning

I have carried it with me each day: that morning I took
my uncle's boat from the brown water cove
and headed for Mosher Island.
Small waves splashed against the hull
and the hollow creak of oarlock and oar
rose into the woods of black pine crusted with lichen.
I moved like a dark star, drifting over the drowned
other half of the world, until, by a distant prompting,
I looked over the gunwale and saw beneath the surface
a luminous room, a light-filled grave, saw for the first time
the one clear place given to us when we are alone.

Mark Strand, in The Harvard Book of Contemporary Poetry, edited by Helen Vendler,
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1985, page 327.

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