Friday, October 10, 2014

"at once the flame, the wick, the smoke and the char . . "

More playing about with photographs of my autumn woods and the Phone app Waterlogue.

A while ago, looking for another poem on the internet, I found this poem by Roo Boorson "Upset, Unable to Sleep, I Go for a Walk and Stumble Upon Some Geese". The name "Roo" pleased me and so did the poem, which I used on this blog. I looked her up. She's a Canadian poet. Looking for her work on Amazon, I found this: Open Wide a Wilderness; Canadian Nature Poems.  Since then I've been using some of these poems here and exploring other Canadian poets included in this anthology, most of whom were unfamiliar to me. One of these is Tim Bowling, a poet and bibliophile whose book, In the Suicide's Library: a book lover's journey, recently attracted me. (I had been following my interest in personal libraries and reading projects through several other books recently. Which is another story.) This particular book's journey began with his discovery of a book of Wallace Stevens' poetry with Weldon Kees' name inscribed on the flyleaf in Kees' characteristic bold hand. After talking about suicide for a long time, Kees had (many years prior to Bowling's find) most probably jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge at the age of forty-one. His body was never found, but his car was left nearby. Here is a passage from Bowling, this life-long reader, taken from early in the book.

"Here is a Saturday late afternoon in October. Twilight on the verge of darkness. Wisps of rainfall becoming visible in the street lamp light. I am the last patron in the tiny one-floor public library, moving down the skinny aisles like a Dickens urchin down the mews, or hunched over an open book like a gargoyle over a Seine of print. The elderly librarian smiles. She tells me it is time to go home, the library is closing, bring your books to the counter. As the darkness thickens, the glow of the library deepens, until the two of us are standing inside a lit jack-o'-lantern, safe and hidden, observing the strange world of which we are a part and not a part, looking at life through the ever-altering prism of ink, at once the flame, the wick, the smoke and the char, everything it is possible to be if you're human and can read, almost more than a single life can imagine, a chameleon in a world with no limits to touch and color."

Tim Bowling, In the Suicide's Library, Gaspereau Press, Canada, 2010, page 46.

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