Thursday, July 24, 2014

Return to a meadow

Driving by the productive grasslands of the plains states on our trip East.

Still tired from the trip, I decided to take a nap. I picked up The Meadow from the bedside table. The first thing in it is this full-page epigraph for Galvan's book. I took it as a sign, having driven past so many meadows in the past week.

I think the form of two and three line stanzas taking turns, but not in a rigid manner, is interesting. And I have been fond of that dear nutty poet, Robert Duncan for many years. Many of my teachers spoke highly of his work. I heard him read many years ago and retain an impression of a sort if frail, fragile and mannered elegance. I wish now that I had written even a paragraph after each of the many poetry readings I went to in San Jose, Berkeley, San Francisco, Mill Valley, Palo Alto in the 1980s. Who knew that four Nobel Laureates and so many other honored poets would be among them and that I would forget everything but stray impressions.

Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow

as if it were a scene made-up by the mind, 

that is not mine, but is a made place, 

that is mine, it is so near to the heart, 
an eternal pasture folded in all thought 
so that there is a hall therein 

that is a made place, created by light
wherefrom the shadows that are forms fall. 

Wherefrom fall all architectures I am 
I say are likenesses of the First Beloved 
whose flowers are flames lit to the Lady. 

She it is Queen Under 
The Hill whose hosts are a disturbance of words within words 
that is a field folded. 

It is only a dream of the grass blowing 
east against the source of the sun 
in an hour before the sun’s going down
whose secret we see in a children’s game 
of ring a round of roses told. 

Often I am permitted to return to a meadow 
as if it were a given property of the mind 
that certain bounds hold against chaos, 

that is a place of first permission,
everlasting omen of what is.

Epigraph to The Meadow by James Galvan, Henry Holt, 1992.

by Robert Duncan (1919 - 1988) 
from The Opening of the Field, New Directions,1960.

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