Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Not bass, but koi

                 Hakone Gardens, at the pond; I love the light there.


Having no surface of its own, the pond
Under the shifting grey contingency
Of morning mists, extends even beyond
The swamp beside it, until presently
The thinning air declares itself to be
No longer water, and the pond itself
Is still for a moment, and no longer air.
Then walking bass glide from their sandy shelf,
And sets of concentric circles everywhere
Expand through some imaginary thing
Whose existence must be assumed, until they meet,
When incorporeal ripples, ring on ring,
Disturb a real surface, as if, with dripping feet,
Some dark hypothesis had made retreat.

John Hollander,
in Spectral Emanations; New and Selected Poems, Atheneum, 1978, page 223

I don't remember ever putting up a sonnet on the blog before. Notice the initial capitals, the fine rhymes, the good vocabulary, the poetic "grey" and all the rest of it. John Hollander was one of our excellent mid-century poets, and these selected poems make a strong volume.

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