Thursday, January 22, 2015


A winter evening approaches over the Little Union Canal.

When we moved here, I went to a great deal of trouble trying to find out the name of this
100-year-old stream, Finally, at the local Historical Society, I found it was named the 
Little Union Canal, and had been dug using horsepower quite early in the 20th Century.
Last month, a map came in the mail detailing the road extension nearby. On the map,
this canal is clearly labeled Eagle Drain. (This is the town of Eagle, Idaho.)
Isn't that truly ugly? I think my heart may break. . .

Narcissus and Echo

Shall the water not remember      Ember
my hand's slow gesture tracing above      of
its mirror my half imaginary       airy
portrait. My only belonging       longing;
is my beauty, which I take       ache
away and then return as love       of
teasing playfully the one being       unbeing.
whose gratitude I treasure       Is your
move me. I live apart       heart
from myself, yet cannot       not
live apart. In the water's tone       stone?
that brilliant silence, a flower       Hour,
whispers my name with such slight      light:
moment, it seems filament of air,       fare
the world become cloudswell.       well.

Fred Chappell

The Language They Speak Is Things To Eat; poems by North Carolina Poets. Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1994, page 111.

Over the past year, I have found some of the most interesting poems in topical or regional anthologies like this one. I got this book because A. R. Ammons is in it, but there is plenty of other good poetry in it as well.
The magical double strategy of this poem is that the end word of each line rhymes with the end word, as well as making another poem, or cry, by itself. And all of it goes with the story of Narcissus and Echo! 
Now I think of how I would manage the task of trying something like this, only shorter, to begin with, because the idea is soooo interesting! 
I should also mention how much I like the word-compound "cloudswell" which lifted up my heart.

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