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Ikon-measured walk : original poems Fiamengo, Marya Ekaterina 1966

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T H E IKON-MEASURED W A L K - original poems  by Marya Ekaterina Fiamengo B. A . , The University of British Columbia,  1948  A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of The Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in the Department of ENGLISH  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard:  T H E UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA M A R C H , 1966  In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l requirements  f u l f i l m e n t of  f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of  ( C o l u m b i a , I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t for  r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y .  e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g of t h i s  British available  I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n  for  t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be  g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s It  freely  representatives.  i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s  financial  the  for  g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n  Depa rtment The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada  Abstract  That poetry is the fictive music of the imagination and that the imagination is the supreme expression of the human intelligence conferring order on personal chaos, and elegance on social squalor is the thesis of these poems. And that the imagination stands superbly poised, rooted in the paradoxes of the human condition, the sense of mortality co-existent with a consciousness of immortality, the palpable presence of the past constant in and delineating the present, it further seeks to articulate. The poems then seek to celebrate certain occasions and states of being, moments of pure vision which supply the "Notes toward a supreme fiction" whereby the momentary is transformed, enclosed within that artifice of eternity, the poem. One artifice of the poem, if not of eternity, is rhetori That rhetoric can be a precise instrument of feeling is a conviction of the poet. The poetry is the swift language of the individual intuition; the rhetoric the slower language of the intellect which bears the weight of continuity and tradition. One moves in these poems from an early style deliberately rich, dense, and evocative to a clearer more austere delineation. Ironic self-awareness, a growing precision and clarity of line and vision replace the former nostalgia for the enchanted trance. The line, however, continues lyrical. Irony is the instrument of intelligence in the service of eloguence, each in love with language.  ii T A B L E OF C O N T E N T S  Just to  1  Metamorphoses  2  Tree Song:  3  F o r Dmitri  Winter's Tale  4  Letter to Bianca  6  A Choice of Temperament  8  The Element of Water is  10  F o r Love and Language  12  The Astronauts of Loss  13  F o r Gothic Kindergartens  15  The Memory of Honey  16  Logic  17  For Aphrodite  18  Intuition  19  The Most Poisonous of A l l  20  Trees in Parched Country  21  Zabreb  22  At Solin  24  Requiem for a Dark Boy  26  iii  F o r my Father - Requiem 1  27  F o r my Father - Requiem 2  28  Overheard at the Oracle  29  Two Kinds of Eden  40  The Heart on A l l Fours  41  Letter to a Friendly Pharmacist  43  Parable on Neon Lights  44  The Bamboos  45  F o r Regret  46  Homage to Mallarme  47  JUST T O --Just to be allowed to think a little Sleep a little Walk Not bothered and bossed Into Constant lyricism, Image-crossed Language tost. There is something to be said F o r freedom from metaphor Diction should leave you alone Once in a while. To sun on a rock a sleeping lizard blood nicely cool away from it a l l Released from syntax wordlessly sinful quietly being, not seeing symbol.  2  METAMORPHOSES (A Russian F a i r y Tale)  In the forests of Russia that interior Russia whose geography stretches and touches my throat, In this interior Russia a lizard sits dreaming, enchanted by zero diverted by sloth, in the deep of the forests of Russia, where bears dance in the snow, where in the silence of sunshine, the rocks bloom with lizards asleep in the winter's spare warmth. Should you stand in that silence and look at that lizard you will see on her head a small crown and the skin of the lizard will glitter until the eye transfigures the copper-green woman upon a green throne. But Russia, my Russia of quiet my Russia of calm cold, the barbarians have come for breakfast, the green throne and the golden woman have gone and in the forest the noise of the comfortable rabble competes with the gabbling of gnomes.  3  T R E E SONG:  F o r Dmitri  Lullabye my little minnow, In our garden is a willow; Long ago a lady cried F o r a handkerchief and sighed A song her mother's maid Sadly sang and sadly died Maid and lady sang and died. Lullabye my little minnow In our garden is a laurel; Long ago a maiden quarrelled With a god's divine attention Into foliage she fled And her lovely body fed The green growth of victory. In the garden you will find Rosemary and fragrant thyme; Rosemary's for fond remembering Ortce a lady overfond Witless wandered to a pond. Lullabye my little minnow Myth can be a bitter pillow. Lullabye my little minnow Just beyond the wordless willow There's an apple to be had. Pleasant fruit and pleasing tree But again the story's sad, God was simply not inclined To share fruit of every kind. Lullabye my little minnow, What's the riddle you will winnow; When the magic berry's grown And in the garden is a rowan? Bite that fruit and in an eye Round as childhood you may see Irish Queens dance soundlessly.  4  WINTER'S T A L E  B e s i d e her bed but out of sight She kept the f a i r y s t o r i e s of her native land. Some day she thought Some day i n A u t u m n When the weather Is quite right R i p e but not hot I'll go. F o r i n her heart She wanted to be Queen Although she kept the purpose dark A n d to that end She plotted f i e r c e assassinations in her mind, M u r d e r e d common places One at a foul time. O c c a s i o n a l l y she went to gaol. H e r e she read the s t o r i e s over F o u n d that in tale after tale The queens were old o r c r u e l The p r i n c e s s e s honey young With gems in their eyes A n d jewels like plums of p l e a s u r e on their tongues. Steadfast she r e m a i n e d Her desire reaffirmed. She wanted to be Queen A l b e i t she recognized The apple in the worm. Whether cold, o r old o r mean, She wanted to be Queen. Queens were f o r e v e r P r i n c e s s e s were not r e a l .  This you see Was all the shelter she could seize; Knowing princesses, no matter how they please Princesses, are not forever Only Queens are real.  6  L E T T E R TO BIANCA  Do you remember, Bianca, when we were young, how various wimpled women came, sat on our beds and played counterpoint with the counterpane? Their tongues, their tenderly disarming tongues were witless with wonders yet to come. Most distinctly, I remember how elusive was the hum of hymns murmured but never sung. Yesterday, Bianca, as it snowed I watched the frost of quiet grow deep in the gulleys and the ruts thinking, how much remains of those muted mutterings whose flakes precarious as snow in a country of long rains heaped certain devious drifts of mind which jar your disposition and mar mine? What was the cadence of the speech that fell penultimate like a becalming snow the winter's seed of peace slowly, solemnly in the street a nuisance to motorists and the police? What thimbled witchcraft weathered in those coifs? Bianca, do you remember if they said how, when we crossed our palms with theirs we'd grow marvellous in beauty as the snow's implacable crystal fold; how sorcery would drive our eyes beyond the blanched gardens of the moon into its unfathomable other side?  7  M o r e , how  e n c h a n t e d t h e r e we  w o u l d not g r o w c o l d  but h o l d a t o u r r i g h t d i v i n i n g h a n d t e r r i b l e tenant white with p r i d e wimpled  i n light, sheathed i n i c e ,  o u r f i e r c e i c o n w o u l d l i g h t the s k y and starkly sing. Y e s t e r d a y , B i a n c a , when i t s n o w e d c e r t a i n h o o d e d b i r d s a p p e a r e d a b o u t the d o o r . I s t o o p e d to f e e d t h e m h e a r i n g i n the b l e a k c h e e p cowled i n their throats a n a v i a n hum, that we  that h y m n of l a n g u a g e  i n those white y e s t e r d a y s  once m u r m u r e d and which i n t h i s b l o o m of s n o w we  sing.  now  8  A CHOICE OF T E M P E R A M E N T  I often speculate on countries where they sleep Behind green shutters on cool dappled beds Lullabyed between the sheets By the gratuitous dronings of the sea And the gabble of cobbles in the street, Where even my constant adversary The harsh centurion sun, Blazing with Roman purpose in the sky Becomes a drowsy poppy, soporifically benign, While I am for a moment tenderly resigned. It's then the horns of puritan purpose blow, But what they do not know, My dear Oblomov, is that you and I A r e cousins and we love to lie Continuously on sofas, Making the cracked plaster walls grow wide As a chasm-startled sky, Those unfortunate marriages we made Each with our pale puritan shade Contributed little to this disease And only robbed us of our splendid ease. Neither the cold agitators of that other north Who never understood our mouths But urged a constant going forth Nor the dedicated sensualists of the south Praying for pleasure on the palazzo floor, Brought up in mist and mountain snow Implacable with the passion to define We lie upon our sofas Occasionally we sigh F o r the clarity of the Mediterranean mind.  9  In vain as long as we can talk We live in fortresses of sloth And make occasion for our Ikon-measured walks, Princely with words and pleased While attendant trees Spread canopies of thought to tease Our murky skulls to further speech Oh sofa-saturated cousin mine What impervious vi rtue we make of killing time! Yet dear Kin I love you more Than any bright-eyed glad seignor F o r both of us can look past Rome Somnolently Byzantine Bedded and bold As mimosa blooming in the northern cold.  10  T H E E L E M E N T OF WATER IS  1  Blatant and bountiful the damp women sit smiling behind their veils, moistly they raise asparagus-frond lids showing an onion eye whose tail pleased to be seen sprouts leek pale green. "Here, " they murmur vapourishly vain, "Is the vegetable kingdom of long seductive rains, where we its fecund goddesses hum a mist-miasma to the brain while furious fertility drips from our hair. Our chorus this, water's the element that i s . " "This, " my winter-weather heart cried feverish, "is what you call alluvial bliss, spittle of generation the only fervour on your lips and passion a muddy river bed's kiss. " "A marsh of climate, mild and benign is the climate, " they replied, "where a l l grow luxiriant, resigned, no vegetable heart is here denied. We are facets of those causes that have never known except by proxy of gossip the strong enchantment older than stone, the blanched bloom of snow. It is a blossom alien to the marrow of our fluvial bone, not ours that, clear, clean glow.  11  And winter-heart, no chill contempt can freeze this frank, rank water growth, nor icicle this spawning ease, nor tempt us court your curt, ungenerous north. "  II  The winter-heart in shield of ice rejoined,- "hopeless to probe these cores of sponge, devices of a maudlin season's mold. Polaris, emissary go pluck the adversary with glacial hand reveal the harsh, the barren land. Show them zero at the end of pain water an icicle, stiff with cocaine.T e l l them of meadows where the hunter roams, baffled by snowdrifts, bemused by flakes, wanton and witless in a craze for the far boundaries of northern lakes where swans in frozen attitudes of whiteness cry, "Water is the element that changes when we die. "  FOR L O V E AND  LANGUAGE  I longed for that love as I longed for language And must I always remember it silent? The defeat of the heart in a syllable's quiet Is like snow falling in a frozen forest With nowhere, nowhere the sound of water; While like some shattered cedar I exclaim, "There must be language! " There is no other cause for breathing. Angels and ministers of grace, How have I fallen F r o m that consonant virtue Into this cruel mute discretion? There is more kindness in brute desire Than in a tongueless nothing Where the vowels of health sicken Not by lust but by love discredited.  13  THE ASTRONAUTS OF  LOSS  "But that was in another country, and besides the wench is dead. " I Discredited lovers like cold astronauts revolve in a dark of heart to head, occupy the last private place blanching in orbit cranial waste. Dead moons to each other who once were star engendering; not basalt bitter but lunar empty redundant as salt in the desert. Cosmic condition, fall-out gratuitous as fleeting meteorite, loss their only incandescence. To speak directly: it was in another orbit and besides the planet's dead. II It seems in sleep there is this weeping, a comet's tail of grief cold astronaut what's in your wake, the heart rotating upon its axis from pain to pain? I know and, "mine eyes dazzle we died young".  It's not the death that I'm lamenting But your cold ranging in my head Cowards of motion both enduring neither gravity nor levitation; But crippled steel that birdlike plummets past personal and human grief into the disaster area where automata dictate our release. Where the code word that caresses this formula is terse; it is in another country And besides the species is brief.  15  FOR  GOTHIC KINDERGARTENS  They never knew how fate decided on a day that strumpetry was parcel to their love. They walked like children in the densest woods and never understood the witches nor the wolves. A l l unaware of presences they wooed the demons of the underbrush with smiles nor did they understand as stepmothers do that innocence is ignorance beguiled. Thus in the wood they hummed a tune from Gothic Kindergartens blessed by a wanton Hunter's moon which offered them love's pardon. Unmindful of the other, darker verse they moved past the gingerbread house the clutch of the queen's unuttered smiling curse enthralled by legend and mirror-haunted. I sing it to my child now to forfeit the harm of hurt and hinder malice in former fatal vows E s warent zwei Konigskinder, There were two royal children Die hatten einander so lief Who held one another so dear It could not be but brief. Sie konnten zusammen nicht kommen nor could one another reach Because the water between them Das Wasser, es war zu tief The water ran so deep.  T H E MEMORY OF HONEY  The sun central in the unavoidable sky, says, "Take it now tomorrow is shade. " A memory of poisoned honey remains a taste on my lips. A s I move about in the garden phrases from the Greek poets taunt me. I shake my head. It is too late. I am too Russian There is so much rain in this country. Moreover I am familiar with the fierce landscape of a meagre pity. The sun follows me about in the garden mocking me with his aegean daylight. He reminds me that my mother's sister lives on an island in an old house with Doric pillars.  LOGIC  On the last day of June I brought you peonies from my garden One, absolute crimson and one white as new milk. You said severely, "the petals will fall and untidy the room. "  18  F OR APHRODITE (Long after Sappho)  T e l l me, Oh Beatific, Could you among those silver arpeggios of islands Check fate? You, who came from water and like Christ Walked on it beneficent. And did you among that divine Theocracy of women once move so munificent Even those three bitter sisters Laid down their instruments of oppression, Because the blooming, multiple rose of the flesh Smiled at them for an instant?  INTUITION  I have a friend who keeps in her garden five enchanted adders. She likes to watch them glide among the pink of fallen roses. But I, being what I am Have always preferred spiders.  T H E MOST POISONOUS OF A L L  The most poisonous of a l l is a paradise of trees and grasses reflected in a calm clutch of water. Here the harsh demands the senses make on heart and harmless flesh, that each must hang, like apples on a tree, like apples on a bough, in apple-ripe repose before the fall are evident. And here the spoils of enchantment cling to the golden worm born in the sepal parts which passes from bud to bough, returns to feed upon the fruit and bruise the carpel core, the very bone of passion.  T R E E S IN P A R C H E D COUNTRY  Trees in a parched country Are Positions of leisure. Watch How they arch In a haven of wind Anchored. Cosmos of green Where time might be Pleasure. Leaf, a heart-beat F o r bird, fruit-lured To perch, sing, bring Movem ent To the quick of the eye To the beat of the heart Wonder.  ZAGREB  Bougainvillaea bougainvillaea breathing in the streets using up the rancid a i r leaving fragrance in its place. Bougainvillaea followed by the smell of garlic like a peasant courtship clumsy in the side lanes, sound of kitchen dialects slurred in the halls of old Croatian houses homely palaces, Jelacic, in the street of Stjepan Radic. Croatia: a language and a people running barefoot in the streets of Zagreb. Follow! Follow all the syllables of longing names and places the Z A G R E B A S K O GORE, Square of the Victims of Fascism, the wooden stairs of TOMICEVA Street GRIC, again the square, named for the heroes of the revolution, square with the tiled church roof stained in the implacable colours of resistance.  23  Zagreb, fortress, city built for straw-haired, flat-faced stubborn peasants, I walked there bougainvillaea in my nostrils on my tongue the dust-mote moths of history palpitating like machine gun bullets. P R E K R E Z J E , the chestnut trees mix their odour with stale urine, spoiled olive oil ubiquitous onion, smells communal and private co-existant. Zagreb, hill fort eminence of the SAVA, that hometown river which flows through arteries and channels empties in my heart a silt of iron.  24  A T SOLIN (For Dalmatia)  "Not just to practise the heart", but because being there engaged the entire experience of love, the moment and the vision fused in the nostalgia of white marble, blue water and the silver heat of August. Caught in this landscape I balanced on a hill between Dalmatis' cerulean sky and the clean chameleon Adriatic. Surrounded at Solin by a sibling queenly sea who murmured of the isles of Greece to a shore where trees and rubble root in human dust, dwarf orchards top the gaping graves of Roman citizens and lizards the charioteers of heat leap among funeral shards. Does marble mute ubiquitous debris? Back from the foam-veined sea further up the hill a Greek temple forms the trellis where Croat peasants train their vines, a fountain for Poseidon trickles lamely stunned by the noon's centurion sun. In this audible silence only the teasing voices of two Croat boys looking for Diocletian's coins among the tombs their vowels weaving a gentle gauze of syllables into the language of Croatia made an incidental filter for the dry fragmented freight of what time spent and time retained.  25  O n l y the c h i l d r e n ' s  voices  and a sour perspiring  peasant  h e a d s l o u c h e d i n the s h a d e drinking wine and  muttering  p l u c k e d a t the h y p n o t i c  memorabilia of s t o n e a n d b o n e  r e c a l l e d p r e s e n t f l e s h to the m i n d . S o m e w h e r e goats' b e l l s , m u l e s ' hoofs s p e l l e d out, not j u s t the p r a c t i s e of the h e a r t but the e n t i r e e x p e r i e n c e of l o n g i n g : f o r deathless advantage f o r b r i g h t g h o s t s a l i v e i n the s u n l i g h t Doric trader, slavic tribesman, f o r the t a s t e of m o r t a l i t y i n the m o u t h , a  gravel.  R E Q U I E M FOR A DARK BOY  Go,  bitter polaris,  gleam  go  the g r e e n d e e p .  T h e r e a dark b r o t h e r lies mute and moist, where a l l stars hide. Go, g l i n t a g l o w where phosphorous, pale as snow f l i n t s o n that d a r k boy's b r o w . Not s k e l e t a l yet, that f l e s h i s wet. H e l i e s w h e r e c o r a l ' s sown, where polyps roam. F u l l fathom  five  m e a n s not a l i v e . Pole star, bold star, c o l d a s the d a r k boy's b o n e s s t a r e t h r o u g h the s m i r k of f o a m . T e l l him the  through bubbles,  bauble i s broken,  v e s s e l empty, no b o d y h o m e .  FOR MY F A T H E R - Requiem 1  A n old man on a white sheet fluttering in your cage of bones wounded tremulous pulse with your time wound down. Good-bye dear man. I should have brought you The Sea in a pail but instead I brought you My grief it was salt.  28  FOR MY F A T H E R - Requiem 2  Personal and private Is an old man's dying. He lies spent Foam on the sand Shallow ebb Where barnacles edge. Then sea be his element. Salt the taste he loved carry bone and blood To final ocean bed. Water bless A l l of him, Hands, heart, and head, Not one drop of dry land, Beautiful old man Be in your dying.  OVERHEARD A T THE ORACLE. NINE POEMS OF C H A N C E BASED ON T H E I CHING T H E CHINESE BOOK OF CHANGES.  Nine Poems of Chance. 1.  One for the Hexagrams  2.  One for the Triagrams  3.  One for the Dark Lines  4.  One for the Bright Lines  5.  One for the Yielding  6.  One for the Unyielding  7.  One for the Yin  8.  One for the Yang  9.  The last for the immutable principle Chang the ruler of the universe.  T h e d r a g o n f l i e s i n the h e a v e n s T h e m a r e walks upon  earth  H e a v e n a n d e a r t h do not m e e t E x c e p t a t the e x t r e m i t i e s .  The moon is nearly at the full A heron calls in the reeds I have replenished the goblet I will share it with you. The heron calls Its young answer. This is the affection of the inmost heart.  W a t e r o v e r the l a k e T h i n g s cannot be f o r e v e r separate: Heaven and earth have their limitations T h u s the f o u r s e a s o n s of the y e a r arise It f u r t h e r s one  to c r e a t e number and  To  measure  s e t l i m i t s e v e n to the w a t e r s of the l a k e .  34  4  In the symbolic sequence of the Later Heaven The earth stands in the southwest. Thunder and Rain set in: Heaven and earth deliver themselves The seed pods of all growing things Break open The Image of Deliverance Spans the sky.  35  5 L a k e s resting one on the other T h e image of the joyous What i s not weighed Is at peace What i s at peace P o s s e s s e s inner truth E v e n pigs and fishes Share i n this good fortune.  T h e e s c a p e of the s o u l B r i n g s about change. R e t u r n to the b e g i n n i n g A n d p u r s u e to the end, T h u s can be known T h e c o n d i t i o n of the o u t g o i n g A n d returning spirit S a t i s f a c t i o n with this  knowledge  L e a d s to the p r a c t i s e of l o v e .  The prince shoots at the hawk On a high wall The courtier kills three foxes In the field And receives a yellow arrow. The ablution has been made But not yet the offering. The great depart, the small approach It furthers one to exert those influences Which lead to the contemplation Of the light of the kingdom.  8  A wild goose gradually draws near the shore A crane calls it to the shade Ten pairs of tortoises cannot oppose them They have come to share the generous goblet Which the woman offers. The oxen have halted, The man's hair and nose being cut off He rolls his eyes, The wagon wheels are broken The spokes fly asunder; Not a good beginning But at the lake shore A good end.  T h i s i s the p e r f e c t i o n df s t e a d f a s t n e s s , That its beauty i s within T h e c o l o u r of the e a r t h i s y e l l o w . T h e b l o o d of t h e d r a g o n b l a c k . T h e s e m u s t not c o m p e t e . T h e y a r e the c o m p l e m e n t s  of c o u r a g e .  T h e r e f o r e not o u t w a r d a d o r n m e n t But dwelling i n essentials G i v e s f r e e d o m to the l i m b s Song i t s e x p r e s s i o n .  40  TWO  KINDS OF  EDEN  You may think it unpleasant to live in the ghettos of old cities but I will tell you confidentially that it is equally unpropitious in the new Jerusalems of bright shining chrome, where everyone is endlessly hygienic and nobody chews bones. It isn't simply a question of garlic in gardens and marble for drains the synthetic and the fluorescent opposed to the organic and mineral whole. Oh it has something to do with the river, polluted and useless except for the loam, On Sunday the Jerusalem citizens germless and jaunty stroll by the river banks where nobody bathes; the talk is as general as talk is in ghettos a gossip of gravel and sharp stones. The old life was fretful with overpaid devils pogroms were frequent most people old; the new city tidy as plastic containers, the policemen as tender as tinsel at Christmas direct a traffic of motorists polite as plaster of paris toadstools and gnomes.  T H E H E A R T ON A L L FOURS  The heart walking on a l l fours is neither flesh nor ecstasy. This is what you discover in the suburbs. Think about it. Because neither onions nor opals will console  nor control you entirely. You may expect something Avian.  A hive of hymns something nobly mutable Beethoven's Ninth  Freud£. Tochter aus Elysium 7  We live by any number of arbitrary equations, birds-happiness movement-sound articulation-freedom; but the heart outside the cavity of the chest stufcibles nor mammalian.  discovers itself neither Avian  A  new  s e t of e q u a t i o n s result mammals -milkblubber are  viviparous not a s s o c i a t e d with c o l d or bone but with wet-warmth comfortable  stench of a l l u v i a l r i v e r  bed  d a r k of o c e a n d e p t h . T h u s to n e s t i n the t r a c h e a t e b r e a s t gather breath the h e a r t must walk over ooze of w a t e r s o a r past flotsam for muscle to f i n d a b r i d g e of b o n e ancestral structure.  L E T T E R TO A FRIENDLY PHARMACIST or ONE LIMITATION OF SENSIBILITY  My problem is this: that I don't have any aphrodisiacs in the medicine cabinet. I have any number of other things: metaphysical soothing syrup, ethical cough drops, political expediency pills, stoic endurance salts, and noble renunciation tablets, but aphrodisiacs, no. Now please don't assume that I am a narrow sexual prude. "Chacuna son gout," has always been my leit motif. However, since many of my closest associates have deviant, however fascinating characteristics, it really would be a palliative to have a reliable erotic elixir on hand. So if you happen to know of one, approved, of course, by the Food and Drugs people and Consumer's Guide, please recommend it. It will only be used to alleviate the severest stress.  P A R A B L E ON NEON LIGHTS  And yet I believe most explicitly in outward adornment. It is no use admonishing me, if neon lights were baubles I would wear them. It is simply a question of taste not cost. After all, even in electronics decorum is everything. Think of moving through the town of Adman's beatific vision! Oh dazzling achievement, to be the multifoliate rose of theatre marguees.  x  But neon lights are serious embellishments. They spell out entertainment value, diversions from disaster, commercial imagination. Don't sneer. These are the bold mosaics of profit, brave synthetics of a new world Byzantine. Ah, too bad, on closer inspection one confronts the inevitable personal schizophrenia. To enjoy the precarious accomplishments of darknes one must forgo these pleasant fluorescents. The real felicities of mercantile power don't show on this spangled scene. These are only dime store elegances despised by the haute bourgeoisie. You end in the usual dilemma; faced with the cruel brevity of candles, the scarcity of gold on the world market, the exorbitant price of diamonds, and finally divorced from even a small share of public ostentation, wear in your hair the most costly tiara, the baroque glitter of private grief.  T H E BAMBOOS  This winter the snow and a bitter wind almost destroyed the thin tenacious stalks of the bamboo plants in the garden. I went out to save them. The wind was blowing north-north-east. I could feel the storm's cutting sleet clean to the marrow of my bones. Fingers numb face wet with snow, I struggled with string, stalk and burlap sacking. The wind has died the snow gone the plant strong but bent survived. Yesterday someone unexpected came; tidied the disorders of the garden. The bamboos stand straight in proud vegetative grace. Old cruelties reprieved linger in the green of its new leaves.  FOR R E G R E T  There will be occasions for regret. Empty the heart of hope Shore up the sandbags F o r the shrapnel of remorse Blow bugle blow, The echo like the answer denying, denying. There will be occasions for regret. The fox runs home To burrow with its young. Each predatory animal keeps Its satiated peace. The echo in the cave a quiet lying, lying. There will be occasions for reprieve. The pulse within the flesh Must pause before replying, prolong, prolong The feast before the fast the last, the only just disguising. Echo, echo answer in the skull, "Each owl has its mouse and appetite designs its traps for dying."  47  HOMAGE TO  MAL,LARME  "Et le bei aujour'hui, " then Is a swan on ice, Perishable mobility, Sibelius on a winter afternoon, A chill of mist At the foot of a frozen hill. Memory the pond Time the ice The Swan the only radiant metaphor. In the hush Behind the eyes The blanched virginal aujourd'hui Stretches fluctuating wings Strains a white neck Drops icicle petals of effort And sings. On the ice An echo pulse beats in the throat of the bird Breaks through the barrier of blood and feathers, Dissolves exile and death. The dead a i r quivers With an expanse of breath. The swans of past time remembered Let fall fragmented notes Thick as the snows d'autretemps.  


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