Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Constructing Things; Reminded of Glastonbury

The porch wasn't making it! This is at The Farm, Rexford, NY, probably in 1954 or 1955, 
after I went away to Tucson to go to college and learn about desert dust storms. 
Nothing is left here of the porch but the roof and even that won't survive much longer.
 I think Dad is building some forms for a concrete pour. 
Later pictures show Marji and some of her friends roller-skating on the cement. 
I think that is Marji in the doorway, wielding a broom. 
You can also see that Dad has been using a blowtorch on the front door 
to melt, scrape, and thus remove, perhaps a century's worth of paint down to the bare wood. 
Episodes of this story will continue appear in this Memory Thread from time to time. . .

Green Shade

The best rain announces itself long
before it opens up and drives the trees
a long, radiant green.
They remind me of Glastonbury, the lawn
beside the Abbey. Somewhere the monks had buried
gold that Henry VIII wanted
with a hard pale hunger.
They laid it in the ground
in a place intended as a joke, I swear,
at the foot of a stand of three trees, the center
taller than the others, the box covered by stone.
I don't know how I know this, I knew,
under the insistent rain that ground was heir to,
that the abbots, drunk on their own apple wine,
laughed like all hell as they dug at their wet plan.

John Wylam

The Laurel Review, Volume 27, No. 2,
Summer, 1993, page 63.

I found this poem yesterday as I was clearing out some shelves upstairs. In the 1980s and 1990s I subscribed to many literary journals. I had a particular fondness for the Laurel Review because they had published one of my poems. Which may be why this issue survived previous purges so I could find this poem constructed of two main parts! First comes the rain and the greenness where the poet is reminded of Glastonbury. And then the story of the monks and their gold-burial, with the poet's emotional participation in the monks' work. The poem, in 15 lines, without stanzas, strict rhyme or metrics, enters and exits on the poet's perceptions.

John Wylam lived in Pittsburgh according to the endnote in the Laurel Review. I cannot find a record of a book of his poems,
or of anything else, really, but this is a competent short poem.

Your task would be to allow some kind of weather, park, sea or woodland lead you into a reimagining of some historical event.

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