May 23, 2011

Poem of Questions

How strong is the beauty that calls to you?
Does anybody hold it always as a guide–or
is it the search that is required of us? Is there

rest in beauty? Or does the best of what we may
know require battering waves? Times we have loved
brought to ruin, and new times asking: How will I

rise to take my punishment, so that love
will again name itself the only path?
We turn to the dark for an end;

we walk out of it by knowing we have loved.


  1. Deron Bauman on May 23rd, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Sharon Olds, The Winter After Your Death

    The long bands of mellow light
    across the snow
    The sun closes her gold fan
    and nothing is left but black and white —
    the quick steam of my breath, the dead
    accurate shapes of the weeds, still, as if
    pressed in an album.
    Deep in my body my green heart
    turns, and thinks of you. Deep in the
    pond, under the thick trap
    door of ice, the water moves,
    the carp hangs like a sun, its scarlet
    heart visible in its side.

  2. Daryl Scroggins on May 23rd, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Yes, this is splendid. Mine violates Pound’s injunction to “go in fear of abstractions.” I wanted to be concrete but–no footing. Only bourbon at the moment.

  3. Deron Bauman on May 24th, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Cooper Esteban, Lost Song

    I walk with not you
    beside me: this is
    a stamina I
    did not know I had.

  4. Deron Bauman on May 24th, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Louise Gluck, Messengers

    You have only to wait, they will find you.
    The geese flying low over the marsh,
    glittering in black water.
    They find you.

    And the deer—
    how beautiful they are,
    as though their bodies did not impede them.
    Slowly they drift into the open
    through bronze panels of sunlight.

    Why would they stand so still
    if they were not waiting?
    Almost motionless, until their cages rust,
    the shrubs shiver in the wind,
    squat and leafless.

    You have only to let it happen:
    that cry—release, release—like the moon
    wrenched out of earth and rising
    full in its circle of arrows

    until they come before you
    like dead things, saddled with flesh,
    and you above them, wounded and dominant.

  5. Deron Bauman on May 24th, 2011 at 12:10 am

    And the epitome.

  6. Daryl Scroggins on May 24th, 2011 at 12:17 am

    Yes, Cindy reads “the River Merchant’s Wife” very well, as you know.

    Okay, here’s my second poem of questions:

    What found my hand there, in
    the cistern with yours–reaching
    for the same lost ring?

    And what sort of fish was it
    that brought its neon windows by
    more quickly than mouths

    move when disclaiming intent?
    The plash abolished faces that
    reformed, anew, and then there was

    no thought of what reaching sought.

  7. Rick Neece on May 24th, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    For the record, I love this interchange between Deron and Daryl. For those who haven’t, to sit in space with them together or apart. I just sat listening. Beautiful.