Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Distant Hills from Glenwood Avenue

Beautiful things that one sees are not always caught by the lens. I love this view of the mountains east of the Treasure Valley (wherein lies Boise.) There is a certain kind of blue-gray late afternoon light in the fall that I particularly like.

Today, in the biography (see previous posts) Coleridge has been taking those prodigious long walks with Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy, she whose careful journal has been helping biographers of the Romantic poets ever since. They spend a lot of time looking at a river, so much so, that there is a report abroad that they are spies for a French invasion. There are also views of the sea. They walk tremendous distances, distances that would kill most of us. They are exploring all the currents of thought as the 18th century comes to a close. It is an interesting time, and the biographer has given enough background to make it come alive. Coleridge has been given (without asking for it) an annual grant--no strings attached--from one of the Wedgewoods of pottery fame. A lucky break, particularly for his wife, who might have really suffered the most under their dire financial constraints. Already, she has one child, which came early and she delivered it herself without a midwife. This child, Hartley, is thriving now. Then she has had an early miscarriage. She does not come along on the splendid long poetry walks.

Tonight's poem is more Bill Holm, from Playing the Black Piano,
Milkweed Editions, 2004, page 76.


If you turn your back to the ocean
Do you think the tide will not find you
If it decides to rise a little higher
Than usual, to swallow an extra helping 
Of gravel, to suck on your bones to clean
Its palate? The sea eats what it pleases
Whether you face it or give it your back.
No use having opinions about this.
But the sea does not hate you, or imagine
That you have wounded it with your avarice.
You cannot blaspheme the honor of water
Or insult the tide for tasting of salt.
Only humans, so newly risen from fish,
Imagine drowning each other for reasons.

                        **     Bill Holm  **

This poem has, line by line, given me a lot to think about. Take the statements, one by one, and expand on each one in your mind. Use a phrase to begin a poem of your own. I'm planning to try that!

No comments:

Post a Comment