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Points on the grid Bowering, George 1963

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P O I N T S O N T H E G R I D by GEORGE BOWERING B.A., The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1960 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of Eng l i s h We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1963 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y available f o r reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis f o r scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of E n g l i s h The University of B r i t i s h Columbia, Vancouver 8, Canada, Date A p r i l 1Q65  POINTS ON THE GRID ABSTRACT The thesis comprises an essay and a c o l l e c t i o n of poems written i n an attempt to define my per-ception of the external world, and my r e a c t i o n to that world. The essay seeks to explain a recent development i n my poetic theory. In the essay, "Universal And P a r t i c u l a r , " I begin by describing my f i r s t awareness of the simultaneous and uncontradictory phenomena of u n i v e r s a l i t y and p a r t i c u l a r i t y as they appear i n nature. Prom there I state that t h i s awareness informs the poet's view of nature and h i s p o s i t i o n i n nature. To t h i s end I go to the works and statements of several poets p r i n c i p a l l y my three chief personal influences, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Charles Olson and assess them i n terms of the awareness of u n i v e r s a l i t y and par-t i c u l a r i t y as apprehended by each poet. My main point i s that the poem emerges from a moment when both phenomena are most intens e l y present to the - i i i -poet. I then proceed to discuss my own poems from the basis of my poetic stand. "Points On The Grid: Part One Of The Poems," i s a c o l l e c t i o n of poems with which I hope both to state and demonstrate my premise as seated i n the essay. "The Husband: Part Two Of The Poems," i s a l a t e r c o l l e c t i o n , i n which I am no longer d i d a c t i c , but have, I hope, assimilated what I believe about u n i v e r s a l i t y and p a r t i c u l a r i t y , d i r e c t l y into the ac t i o n of the poems, which then become an attempt on the la r g e r matter of poetic form. a ACOOWIEDGMENTS CBC Wednesday Might Genesis West Tish CONTENTS Universal And P a r t i c u l a r : An Enquiry Into A Personal E s t h e t i c page 1 Points On The Grid: Part One Of The Poems 22 Universal & P a r t i c u l a r 23 Meta Morphosis 24 Circus Maximus , • 26 Points On The Grid 28 The Skier 31 Hideo Kobayashi 33 Moment Of Truth 34 The Husband: Part Two Of The Poems 36 Husband 37 Leg 38 Poem For My Wife Angela 39 The Candle 41 The Sea Shore 42 Thru My Eyes 44 What Is I t 47 Ed Dorn 48 In Your Yellow Hair 49 Rime Of Our Time 50 Love & War Is Kind 51 The C r i t i c s 52 The Dance Complete 53 The Youthful Mother, A Shape Upon Her Lap 54 My Garden 55 Forest F i r e Summer 56 Vancouver Etude 57 Brave Horse Dream 59 from For WCW 60 Bibliography 65 UNIVERSAL AND PARTICULAR: AN ENQUIRY INTO A PERSONAL ESTHETIC When I was six years old the coming of spring meant a l o t more to me than i t does now. It was more in my total l i f e ; I sensed that something was happening to me at the same time that something was happening to trees and fi e l d s and yellowbells and rabbit hutches around me. Spring meant that the ground was loosening up, and when the water from the melted snow f i n a l l y sank into the ground and dissolved into the warming ai r I knew l i t t l e green stems and leaves were about to appear. In the spring every year I used to plant radishes. In my small square of d i r t marked off by tight string - 2 -stretched between pegs shoved into the ground, I would drop neat rows of red radish seeds, and a few weeks l a t e r I would have rows of green leaves, and i n a while I could see the tops of the radishes nudging up out of the ground, growing round and f a t i n there. One thing I knew was that i t was spring, and I was going to plant radishes as I had done the spring before, when the snow was a l l gone and the earth was softened up. And I knew that t h i s year's radishes would grow just the way l a s t year's radishes had grown. That was why I was planting radishes my parents knew that radishes would always come up; i t didnt matter what the weather might do to the other backyard crops. Another thing I knew was that the radishes that were coming up out of the ground i n t h e i r swelling were things I had planted weeks before, and that these radishes were the very same ones, mine, and that they were d i f f e r e n t from the r e s t of the garden, they i n -corporated the work I had put into them. They were no other radishes. When I ate them l a t e r i n the year I knew a l i t t l e of what the oldtime farmer knew when he ate bread of h i s own wheat or steaks of h i s own herd. And I knew the taste of these radishes, now, and I had forgotten the taste of l a s t year's radishes. - 3 -And I noticed t h i s about everything i n the spring. The apple trees that surrounded the house would get white blossoms on them every year, i n patterns that were predictable from the blossoms of the l a s t f i v e years. The leaves that preceeded the blossoms would uncurl on the twigs the same way they had always done. Yet those leaves of one year were something new fo r the tree that year, they f i l l e d branches that had been empty a l l winter; and the blossoms gave color to the trees that had been merely green before they flowered. The green color that suddenly appeared on the sides of h i l l s back of the house made them the same as they had been l a s t year, and v a s t l y d i f f e r e n t from the white and brown they had been a l l winter. The chicks that broke t h e i r way out of eggs did i t the same way as the chicks that had done i t the year before. The imagination could convince a boy f o r a while that they were the same yellow chicks, except that he had seen l a s t year's chicks grow into b i g white hens, so these chicks were singular, p a r t i c u l a r , and part of a new cycle. This, then, i s the f i r s t thing the boy i n nature apprehends the uncontradictory f a c t s of reccurance and p a r t i c u l a r i t y . In everything to do with nature he sees phenomena i n two ways: as r e p e t i t i o n i n a pattern, and as p a r t i c u l a r things l i v i n g a drama of - 4 -t h e i r own generation and l i f e . Thus the hoy himself he f i l l s out the pattern"set f o r a l l hoys from b i r t h thru to future death, while at the same time he l i v e s i n s i d e h i s own pattern f u l l y aware of h i s own p a r t i c u l a r i t y . Without the l a t t e r he could never see the former. And thus, too, the a r t i s t . Let us say the poet. I t i s a l l too rare that the poet, the poem, and the man a l l emerge i n a natural singleness of d i r e c t i o n . Too often the poet t r i e s to write poems as a compen-satio n f o r what he i s , rather than as a recording of what he i s , natural man i n natural surroundings. Hence the kind of i n t e l l e c t u a l i z e d verse that springs from a man's i n t e r p r e t i v e f a c u l t y at the cost of h i s whole body's place i n the natural continuum': In F l o r i d a consider the flamingo, Its color passion but i t s neck a question; Consider even that g i r l the other guests shun On beach, at bar, i n bed, f o r she may know The secret you are seeking, a f t e r a l l ; Or the c h i l d you humbly s i t by, excited and curly, That screams on the shore at the sea's s u n l i t hurlyburly, T i l l the mother c a l l s i t s name, toward n i g h t f a l l , T i l l you s i t alone: i n the dire meridians, o f f Ireland, i n fury Of spume-tooth and dawnless sea-heave, s a l t rimes the lookout's devout eye. ("Pursuit," by Robert Penn Warren) - 5 -" I t ' s color passion but i t s neck a question." Here i s the a c t i v i t y of an imagination set i n a p o s i t i o n to i n t e r p r e t nature i n terms that would subject birds and the sea and the moving c h i l d r e n to the organization of a mind that i s calmly "considering." Compare, then, a poem by William Carlos Williams, and observe how the poet places himself i n a crux where two l i n e s cross, the l i n e that runs thru h i s p a r t i c u l a r i t y as observer, across the l i n e that runs thru h i s consciousness of himself as part of a world nature organism: THE MIND HESITANT Sometimes the r i v e r becomes a r i v e r i n the mind or of the mind or i n and of the mind Its banks snow the t i d e f a l l i n g a dark rim l i e s between the water and the shore And the mind hesitant regarding the stream senses a likeness which i t w i l l f i n d a complex image: s ome thing of white brows bound by a ribbon of sooty thought beyond, yes well beyond the mobile features of s w i f t l y - 6 -flowing waters, before the t i d e w i l l change and r i s e again, maybe Here, of course, i s a poem that i s i n some way slack because i t s a c r i f i c e s too much to didacticism, but i t shows a mind seeking i t s place within the scheme of nature's things. " • I am reminded of a passage i n Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat," i n which the narrator mentions the onslought of the interminable and expected waves that threaten to swamp the l i t t l e boat r i d i n g the empty ocean with four shipwreck survivors aboard. He t a l k s of the immense r e l i e f he f e e l s when the boat success-f u l l y r i d e s one wave, and the massive dread, mixed with awful r e s o l u t i o n of knowing that any of the countless coming waves could destroy them a l l . Here, of course, Crane has set h i s lo n e l y actors i n a p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a t i o n described perhaps as a n a t u r a l i s t ' s arena. The view of nature i s that of a man who wants to show the universe as p e r f e c t l y i n d i f f e r e n t to the e f f o r t s and hopes of men. The i n t e r e s t i n g thing f o r me i s not so much that r e a l i z a t i o n , but rather what the narrator knew while waiting f o r a f i n a l wave to turn the boat over into the uncaring sea. To the men i n the boat, the endless s e r i e s of waves i s l i f e , a l l the l i f e they i n t h e i r arduous - 7 -s i t u a t i o n can know. Then the time when t h e i r boat i s suspended f o r a moment on top of a large wave, the moment just when they w i l l - b e destroyed forever or f e e l the great r e l i e f or joy at s u c c e s s f u l l y r i d i n g t h i s wave that moment i s obviously a key point i n t h i s l i f e . (Crane i s , of course, being a l l e g o r i c a l , and the implied r e l a t i o n of t h i s episode to a l l l i f e i s not d i f f i c u l t to see.) I think Crane's story i s even more involved with the key moment of l i f e than with the nature of that l i f e as a whole. With l i f e as described by the n a t u r a l i s t , i t i s the key moment that makes l i v i n g important or valuable. And those poets who can show us that are the ones who are aware of the human being's crossing axes of u n i v e r s a l i t y and p a r t i c u l a r i t y on :the graph of the i n d i v i d u a l ' s l i f e . Hideo Kobayashi, Japan's leading modern c r i t i c and e s t h e t i c i a n , i s int e r e s t e d i n these key moments of man, e s p e c i a l l y as they center acts of creation and destruction. At the same time, he joins William Carlos Williams i n h i s r e f u s a l to place the mind i n egocentric opposition to society and a l l l i f e , as Robert Penn-Warren does. In a study of Dostoyevsky, Kobayashi shows how the Russian n o v e l i s t pictures the i n d i v i d u a l i n e x i s t e n t i a l terms: (This i s something the French Symbolists know, too.) a man l i k e Raskolnikov i - 8 -knows he i s attuned to a s p i r i t u a l world whereof a l l souls partake of common r e l i g i o u s knowledge; and he also knows that he has a p a r t i c u l a r i n d i v i d u a l l i f e to enact, where events defined by the one man's senses are each one i r r e p l a c e a b l e and unrepeatable. To the p o l i c e , Raskolnikov's murder of the pawnbroker i s another murder i n a s e r i e s of crimes that define and order t h e i r day, year, and h i s t o r y . But to the murderer, the k i l l i n g i s a supreme moment of destruction fused with creation, that makes the l i f e of the obscure student important. Or I turn to the Cantos of Ezra Pound, where the crossing of the two axes i s not only the major t r u t h the poet sees, but also the basis f o r h i s method, the r a t i o n a l e behind a l l the personae, the reccuring images, and the c o l l a t i o n a l technique. As Canto I I begins: Hang i t a l l , Robert Browning, there can be but the one 'Sordello'. But ..Sordello, and my Sordello? Lo Sordels s i fo d i Mantovana. For Pound, i t seems to me, there are absolute values and q u a l i t i e s that reside i n the universe of men, those values and q u a l i t i e s the Greek mythology p e r s o n i f i e d i n the characters and actions of i t s gods and heroes. So that Circe became the s p i r i t , the source, of a l l - 9 -enchantresses who can turn the voyager's s a i l o r s to swine. C i r c e , her s p i r i t , p lots the axis of u n i v e r s a l i t y perceived "by the poet Pound, f o r Pound, the f l u x from which he sees .form appear. Pound then recreates a serie s of h i s t o r i c a l instances, i n which Circe i s the s p i r i t u s f o r Helen of Troy, Blenor of Aquitane, or Aphrodite incarnate at P i s a a f t e r World War I I . A l l the h i s t o r i c a l voyagers who contain the s p i r i t u s of Odysseus are seeking voyage and adventure, seeking the f u l l experience of t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l par-t i c u l a r i t i e s . Yet a l l the time these h i s t o r i c a l people and t h e i r actions "bring, from the eternal f l u x t h e i r own s o l i d forms. The e l e c t r i c i t y flows continuously thru the wire; when the switch i s tripped the l i g h t • bulb comes on. The Cantos are the l o g of Odysseus/Pound's voyage to Ithaca. The greatness of Ezra Pound i s p a r t l y that he comprehends the crossing of u n i v e r s a l and p a r t i c u l a r , turns t h i s crux d i r e c t l y into a method of w r i t i n g h i s poem, thereby channeling immediate experience into form the most auspiciously t r u t h f u l form i n twentieth century E n g l i s h verse. and I saw then, as of waves taking form, As the sea, hard, a g l i t t e r of c r y s t a l , And the waves r i s i n g but formed, holding t h e i r form. No l i g h t reaching through them. - 10 -2. At t h i s time the only thing that bothers me i s the elusiveness of my terms. What i s the axis of p a r t i -c u l a r i t y i n a poem? What i s the axis of u n i v e r s a l i t y ? A strophe you can snip out of a printed poem and paste i t on a w a l l . An image i s a v a i l a b l e to anyone who can close h i s eyes and make a p i c t u r e . But there are other things that help to complete a poem, and they are as elusive as the form of a long dance. This i s e s p e c i a l l y so when the "objects" of concern are bound up i n the a r t i s t ' s sense of h i s own i n d i v i d u a l measure-. ments as he stands somewhere i n the l a r g e r ones of time and space. A poet l i k e Charles Olson, f o r instance, writes of t h i s measurement a l l the time. The f i g u r e of Maximus i s as much caught by the crossing axes as i s Pound's Odysseus. The p e c u l i a r thing about The  Maximus Poems i s that they deal with the area about Gloucester, Massachusetts, from the sixteenth century to the present; yet Olson sends h i s " l e t t e r s " i n the f i r s t person si n g u l a r . He writes of seafaring o f f the American coast i n 1626 as i f the events were news: and they are. A man measures himself as he measures hi s sea cargo every thing goes where i t f i t s . Economy - 11 -and aptness make truth, not to mention beauty. Or to return to an e a r l i e r idea: the voyage of 1626 was a s p e c i a l event old yellow merchant papers a t t e s t to that but i t i s the same water s t i l l out there o f f the coast from Gloucester. You have to understand one thing to comprehend the other. Maximus can engage himself i n a rebuke of Vincent F e r r i n i f o r a misapplication of poetry and i t s materials i n the middle of the twentieth century; or he can be witness at a s a i l i n g three hundred years before, a l b e i t the poet knows the l a t t e r thru records the f a c t i s he knows i t , knowing Gloucester. In h i s study of M e l v i l l e , Olson says he takes SPACE to be the c e n t r a l f a c t to man born i n America; and the a r t i s t can know the space i n which he i s another f a c t . . . This, I am convinced, i s what Olson means when he t a l k s about a "stance toward r e a l i t y " i n the opening phrases of "Projective Verse." (The stance involves, f o r example, a change beyond, and l a r g e r than, the t e c h n i c a l , and may, the way things look, lead to new concepts from which some sort of drama, say, or of epic, perhaps, may emerge.) In part II of h i s essay, Olson presages something he i s to write about from h i s experience i n Guatemala, i n Mayan Letters and i n "Human Universe." Probably from - 12 -my own bias I see Olson nearly concurring with Williams' "The Desert Music" that man i n staying ins i d e h i s natural s e l f w i l l stand among the other things i n nature without presumption of any P u r i t a n n i c a l opposition to natures But i f he stays i n s i d e himself, i f he he i s contained within h i s nature as he i s p a r t i c i p a n t i n the l a r g e r force, he w i l l be able to l i s t e n , and h i s hearing through himself w i l l give him secrets objects share. (Is i t coincidence that "The Desert Music," too, i n -str u c t s the ear to l i s t e n and follow?) Or Williams: — t o place myself ( i n my nature) beside nature — t o imitate nature ( f o r to copy nature would be a shameful thing) That i s , to copy nature would be a way of denying one's own p a r t i c u l a r i t y , just as sure a way as i n t e r -p r e t a t i o n of nature. But Olson's p r o j e c t i v e poet knows secrets objects share: And by an inverse law h i s shapes w i l l make t h e i r own way. I t i s i n t h i s sense that the proj e c t i v e act, which i s the a r t i s t ' s act i n the l a r g e r f i e l d of objects, leads to dimensions l a r g e r than the man. - 13 -Leads to dimensions l a r g e r than the man. The poet i s not p r o j e c t i v e who assumes f o r h i s personal being a dimension l a r g e r than the materials he t r i e s elegantly to con-ceive: For a man's problem, the moment he takes speech up i n a l l i t s fulness, i s to give h i s work h i s seriousness, a seriousness s u f f i c i e n t to cause the thing he makes to t r y to take i t s place alongside the things of nature. I t i s i n t h i s respect, says Olson, that p r o j e c t i v e s i z e i s achieved by Euripides, Homer, and Seami above a l l others, and that Ezra Pound i s our chief challenger. I have not read the Greeks properly, but I would say that Seami, too, f o r me, stood at the most acute crux of u n i v e r s a l i t y and p a r t i c u l a r i t y . That i s why the Noh became i n the f i f t e e n t h century, the greatest theater a r t ever d i s t i l l e d from a n a t i o n a l culture, and also why Seami completely dominates the h i s t o r y of the Noh: u n t i l the place and time burned with the same heat as the man ("Some Good News," Olson) So Olson's "stance" i s h i s a t t i t u d e i n a place/time - 14 -g r i d that i s a good deal more elemental than Gloucester 1600-1960. As Williams says i n 1954.r"It.is not what you say that matters hut the manner i n which you say i t ; there l i e s the secret of the ages" so Olson could add: i t i s not where you l i v e that matters hut the manner i n which you meet your space. In my terms then, and poss i b l y I am taking f o r e i g n l i b e r t i e s with Olson: a man who perceives and understands the p a r t i c u l a r i t y of h i s own s e l f cannot t r u t h f u l l y do that without knowing whereof he perceives, which i s , f i n a l l y , not i n the opposing s e l f but i n the commonality that informs the existence of the ground he stands on. As t a l k i n g of the b u i l d i n g of the nest of the b i r d , Maximus sings: one loves only form, and form only comes into existence when the thing i s born born of yourself, born of hay and cotton s t r u t s , of s t r e e t - p i c k i n g s , wharves, weeds you carry i n , my b i r d of a bone of a f i s h , of a straw, or w i l l of a color, of a b e l l of y o u rself, torn - 15 -3. For contrast, l e t us turn to a d i f f e r e n t way of seeing b i r d s ; or perhaps of engaging i n a process c a l l e d d e s c r i p t i o n , i n which the matter of form (informing) has not been made from a measuring of the action_.pre-r-sumably there, but rather from an otherwise-engaged mind that seizes on natural materials and bends..them to i t s own purposes. I mean the beginning of a poem by Richard Wilbur. The poem i s "Marche' aux Oiseaux." Hundreds of birds are singing i n the square. Their minor voices fountaining the a i r And constant as a fountain, l i g h t l y loud, Do not drown out the burden,of the crowd. When the poet says f i r s t , "Hundreds of b i r d s , " he i s immediately casting an opposition out i n fr o n t of h i s mind, so that a part of nature outside him i s converted into a concept (and an i n d e f i n i t e one at t h a t ) . He could have made up the i n t e r n a l concept of "hundreds of b i r d s " f a r from the v i s u a l or aural experience, f o r use i n such sentences as : I t takes hundreds of birds to make a decent hunt; or: Hundreds of birds - 16 -v i s i t t h i s chapel every year. (A poet s a i d : the square i s there, and "birds of some kind may be, but Where's the bloody poet?) As a second step, Wilbur abstracts the idea of b i r d s ' voices out of the ideated birds and conceives of those voices as "fountaining," which, besides i t s other f a u l t s , i s an i n t e l l e c t u a l d i s t o r t i o n of the nature of language as i t i s a d i s t o r t i o n of the scene unseen. Then the poet leaves the birds altogether i n the r e s t of h i s poem, h i s perceptions, i f I may c a l l them such, leading nowhere, neither to f u r t h e r perceptions, nor into conceptions. In f a c t , we do not at a l l have any consciousness of the natural workings of a poet's mind, much l e s s a perception of how that mind i n any way senses any common ground f o r the man and h i s natural universe. We have, i n f a c t , just the reverse, an opposition. We have, that i s , neither a rendering of the man's p a r t i c u l a r i t y , nor h i s presentiment of anything u n i v e r s a l , no matter how he a l l y himself with Edmund Burke i n answering f o r the sentiments of us a l l - "We love the small." ( I t i s curious that i n t h e i r dealings with b i r d s , various poets reveal so much of t h e i r various methods; as f o r example, Robert Frost i n t e l l e c t i v e l y d escribing a bluebird: "Except i n color he i s n ' t blue.") - 17 -4. But what am I to do with a l l t h i s t h e o r i z i n g (with terms I admit are muddy f o r myself) unless I can use i t to: (1) throw l i g h t on my own poems, or (2) show how my own poems have developed as I have learned to understand why I write poems the way I do, and have used each new amount of t h i s understanding to prepare myself f o r further poems? F i r s t , I would l i k e to say that I dont know why I write poems; and second, that I never w i l l f u l l y explain how I write them. I w i l l say, though, that intense i n v e s t i g a t i o n of the how could reveal more us e f u l knowledge than such an i n v e s t i g a t i o n into the why. The best d i r e c t i o n I can take i s toward t e l l i n g what I see i n a retr o s p e c t i v e view of my recent poems, p a r t i c u l a r l y what I see that reveals anything about my perception of the crossing axes of p a r t i c u l a r i t y and u n i v e r s a l i t y . S t a r t i n g with the poem, "Universal and P a r t i c u l a r , " there i s a group of poems that seek to render while they t e l l of moments when a person's mind can become - 18 -i n t e r e s t e d i n the interdependent comprehensions of p a r t i c u l a r i t y and u n i v e r s a l i t y . In the a c t i o n of the poem t h i s phenomenon should appear three places simul-taneously: i n the natural scene presented, i n the speaker's awareness, and i n the comprehension by the l i s t e n e r . I f i t breaks down i n one of these places, the j u i c e drains away and the poem f a i l s f o r lack of energy. In "Universal And P a r t i c u l a r " we are dealing with a r e a l i z a t i o n of uncurling leaves as they enact a r e l a t i o n s h i p with t h e i r predecessors (themselves?) of previous springs, simultaneous to, and dependent on, a r e l a t i o n s h i p with the bare branches of winter. I, as the poet, seek not to r a t i o n a l i z e or conceptualize from the material of the new leaves. I dont see "hundreds" of leaves. I w i l l not conspicuously r e l a t e the leaves to labor unrest i n Tangiers. I wish to record i n a .poem t r a n s c r i p t a tension I f e e l from a sensual pheno-menon. Only i n the i n t e r p r e t i v e t i t l e do I conceptualize, and f o r t h i s I request indulgence. In a companion poem, "Meta Morphosis," I record the c u r i o s i t y I have spoken of at the s t a r t of t h i s paper. In t h i s poem, I f e e l , I am tending more to an explanation, and the l a s t stanza (as I look back on i t now) seems a recording of a mind musing over the correspondent p a r t i c u l a r i t y and u n i v e r s a l i t y present - 19 -to my r e f l e c t i v e mind. Bemused, I tend to mutter, and eventually, to sing. The l a s t eight l i n e s can he sung. In "Circus Maximus" the focus s h i f t s out from personal sensory experience, to a personal comprehension of c e r t a i n f a c t s i n h i s t o r y . I am sure that the f a c t of A l b e r t Camus e x i s t s f o r a l l time thru the p a r t i c u l a r i t y of h i s own nature, so admirably defined i n The Stranger. Yet I know he does not ex i s t independent of the f a c t of Pyodor Dostoyevsky. In "Points On The Grid" my thesis has already been established f o r me, and the poem opens wide into the archetypal experience of the Odysseus f i g u r e so favored by poets. At the same time, the poem seeks i t s own p a r t i c u l a r i t y , a mentioning of those moments when everything i s l i n e d up at one target: the s p i r i t u a l awareness of a man as representative of human u n i v e r s a l i t y , the sensory-emotional awareness of a man as p a r t i c u l a r among *his environs, the f a c u l t i e s he can t r a i n on h i s subject, and the subject i t s e l f , and i n t h i s case the poem, concrete record of the moment: pinning i t there : the poem "The Skier" i s a conscious e f f o r t to capture the esthetic of Hideo Kobayashi without diverging - 20 -from the e a r l i e r poems. Its' f a u l t i s that i t explains a f t e r i t has t r i e d to render. I salve my discomfort hy t e l l i n g myself that a l l these d i d a c t i c strophes are a kind of t r a i n i n g , during which my a t t e n t i o n i s being brought down hard on a problem i n a r t i c u l a t i o n . Eventually, I think, t r a i n i n g produces apparent ease, as any athlete w i l l t e l l you, and I w i l l sometime be able to concentrate on the crossbar without worrying how many steps I'm taking on the runway. "Hideo Kobayashi" i s a poem of t r a i n i n g then, and no more a development from i t s predecessor than i s one day's p r a c t i c e from i t s predecessor. "Moment Of Truth" i s s i m i l a r . And i t i s there that I stopped making t h i s kind of overt statement. By t h i s time I think I have worked so long attempting to a r t i c u l a t e t h i s most elemental b e l i e f that I have absorbed i t into my natural unspoken method. The. process i s much l i k e that I underwent with rime. For a while I worked consciously with every sound I transcribed onto paper and as a r e s u l t the poems were f a l s e , placed there by p a i n f u l consciousness the l i k e s the world has not seen since eighteenth century landscape gardening. But a f t e r a l o t of pr a c t i c e I was happy to see that c e r t a i n sound patterns would f a l l i nto organic place without my being consciously aware of them u n t i l I happened to read the poem a day or so a f t e r I had - 21 -stopped w r i t i n g i t . I know f o r a f a c t that t h i s winter I have w r i t t e n poems that are products, i n part, of my f r e s h awareness of my place i n the natural and human universe. And I am happy that these poems no longer have to worry about the argument worn to shape i n the d i d a c t i c poems. For the present I am working on other problems that require new conscious e f f o r t s toward r e s o l u t i o n , but which w i l l someday be resolved and turned to my advantage. They w i l l be replaced. I hope the pattern of problem— r e s o l u t i o n — i n c o r p o r a t i o n w i l l continue a l l my w r i t i n g l i f e . The job of w r i t i n g should always be as hard to do as i t was i n the beginning. POINTS ON THE GRID: PART ONE OP THE POEMS UNIVERSAL & PARTICULAR Every A p r i l the leaves c u r l open on that tree and I see them where leaves were before. But t h i s A p r i l the tree i s transformed from bare wood to branches f i l l e d with new leaves never there before. - 24 -META MORPHOSIS (a) Squared o f f "by taut s t r i n g t i e d to pegs at the four corners my quarter of the garden "brought f o r t h every year radishes. So that bending over the furrows I would know the seeds would send back leaves and l a t e r radishes bulging out of the ground. Every year. This year my foursquare garden squashes under my crouched weight. I dribble these seeds - 25 -into thumb-punched holes. And I w i l l water t i l l and weed them t i l l they are radishes f o r the plucking. So each red wet vege-table on t h i s plate on t h i s table w i l l have come from t h i s hole from t h i s row. (c) So s h a l l the spring pass So s h a l l t h i s come th i s spring t h i s f a i r s i s t e r to them a l l So s h a l l t h i s only c h i l d spring be sprung So s h a l l i t come never again So s h a l l i t come again another spring - 26 -CIRCUS MAXIMUS They come each one of them a r i s e l i k e those who came before them. New heroes f l e x i n g to f i l l the shape made out f o r them by the now dead but each new man a r e f u t a t i o n of h i s predecessor. Camus r e f i n i n g Dostoyevsky yet f e e l i n g the swell of body the Russian f e l t the old man g r i z z l i n g i n h i s beard a n t i c i p a t i n g the A f r i c a n who would f i t h i s fin g e r s over the old pen playing with down on h i s cheek. - 2 7 -Who knows ten of your molecules are not i n me? hut Nature helps me define my own shape looks on as I stumble over the centuries' exposed root l o s t i n my own p a r t i c u l a r i t y (patterns I deny and that i s part of a pattern). Styles do not multiply themselves but are a l l pervasive the s u i t of clothes i s nothing without i t s own d i s f i g u r a t i o n s . New heroes f l e x into i t and bend i t to t h e i r bodies. - 28 -POINTS ON THE GRID I t i s a graph then with axis of the man cu t t i n g across axis of the phenomenon of Nature 1s next wave The meeting making a point a place to put the f i n g e r and p i n the poem any kind of statement The man's l i f e a s e r i e s of points strung into a wavering l i n e on the graph h i s g r i d of a c t i o n His l i m i t a t i o n s hem him inside the boundary s t r i n g i n g webs to cut to make a way a path - 29 -a surging across met by Nature 1s next wave a wonderful dive under the breaker Takes us to Odysseus bouncing thru waves on the Aegaean the next l i k e l y l a r g e r than the l a s t p a r t i c u l a r i n i t s strength as the man meeting pinning i t there : the poem But i t goes on Makes shore and recedes f o r another Odysseus with unstopt ears s t r a i n i n g at the axis of the mast unmindful of that sought f o r point at the end that Penelope - 30 -a point on the g r i d presently unraveling her own pattern Her k n i t t e d rows inexorable as the waves her needles making points i n the graph T i l l they meet at that l a t e b i s e c t i o n place to p i n the poem The adventure a casting back at i;all points places of divergence swing to l e f t or r i g h t s p l i t seconds on the g r i d locus or f o o t p r i n t Y/here man meets the f r o n t edge of Nature's next wave THE SKIER misses the stump i n an instant turn to l e f t or r i g h t s l i d i n g downhill with speed unguessed t i l l the guage of snow covered stump was there Just white f l y i n g hy my head and sound of the snow pushing up pie-edged hy the sides of the s k i s leaving a t r a i l track on the g r i d with p i l e s of hacked up snow at the sharp turning point a t t e s t i n g to moments - 32 -i r r e p l a c e a b l e unrepeatable b e a u t i f u l - 33 -HIDEO KOBAYASHI The sergeant's machine gun makes a straight line from the side of his hip to the enemy's heart And along that line invisible bullets steel from the soul from the trigger fingered by a universe where man lives It i s i n the sergeant's eye the enemy drops - 34 -MOMENT OP TRUTH I t i s what Hemingway saw i n the moment of t r u t h muleta pushed into the h u l l the torero suspended on h i s toes hanging on the breath of ten thousand spectators bright i n the eyes of them a l l But i t i s what the matador saw i n h i s own eyes smell of the b u l l i n h i s n o s t r i l s heavy thuds of the hooves among h i s own feet - 35 -nobody there but the two of them held apart by a sword drawing s l i d i n g recibiendo c l o s e r together THE HUSBAJH): PART TWO OP THE POEMS This part for Angela Bowering - 37 -HUSBAND My w i f e l i e s s i c k i n bed l o o k t so w e l l i n the b a t h I b o i l water and watch h e l p l e s s as she t r i e s to ease out the p a i n to nurse heat from the stove w h i l e the i c e s e t t l e s o u t s i d e i s a man's job, what i s a man? but the l i s t e n e r , the watcher what i s a man but the w a i t i n g & s t a n d i n g h a l f o f a l l t h i s ? - 38 -LEG How s h a l l I t e l l of the crease where your l e g bends? That i t i s l o v e l y to look at, that a l l l o v e l y l i n e s bend to i t ? That one unconscious f l e x put i t there, happy f o r ray appreciation, unable to make i t otherwise. - 39 -POEM FOR MY WIPE ANGELA The gardenia from your wedding day makes a pouch i n the pages of my Shakespeare hook The gray three piece s u i t you wore you wear now and press on weekends The gold r i n g minted f o r your f i n g e r i s f i t t e d there now as part of your household hours And your eyes of l i g h t tears - 40 -when you lookt at me your husband are part of me too THE CANDLE The candle hy the bed burns upward burns down a l l night we make love f l i c k e r i n g on the wall l i g h t to love hy gentle and warm from a t i n y source of flame burning down s e t t l i n g i n wax making shadows loom on the wall sure but awful i t f l i c k e r s out i n i t s warmth - 42 -THE SEA SHORE Scrap i r o n on the beach encrusted with sand sinks into the edge of things here i s manufacturing man's boundary h i s f a i l i n g edge the sea i s so b i g the moving weight escapes imagination the shore f a b r i c a t e s footsteps where seaweed slimes the h a s t i l y discarded anchors men forget i n t h e i r sleep - 43 -Walking on the sand yesterday I watched the seagull couples man & wife making a l i v i n g on things we throw away He knew how to handle her and he wore the feathers to prove i t that was enough I saw a business man walking h i s dog throwing s t i c k s f o r i t to chase Sea making a wash against a l i n e of black s h e l l s there was something moving i n the water g u l l s i n the a i r sand encrusted battery case sinking i n the shore - 44 -THRU MY EYES Eager and wary fo r the energy thru my eyes l i t every moment l i g h t i n g my way to the world around me I f e e l the b a t t e r i e s running down But to be b l i n d ! Making out the round edge of the bright hung moon moon moon now there i s the yellow haze I squeeze my eyelids to press i t out Not wanting my l i g h t of blue sky to drop in t o the ocean night - 45 -We burn candles e l e c t r i c l i g h t s at night "Blind as a bat" he f e l t the boat bumping under him dropt h i s s a i l o r into the hole of darkness Shapes meld and swell surge into moving outl i n e s out unholy Milton set h i s v i l l a i n i n the white haze of God's l e f t hand p u l l e d the f l o o r out dropt him into darkness Also I must touch you love you are i n focus i n my reach - 46 -And my hands to know the touch of things have no sight to them hut the suggestion as amoehas swimming under glass Ray Charles i n dark glasses a l l l a s t summer i n San Francisco the sun shone upon a returning sea under r o l l i n g clouds Even now squinting under t h i s reading lamp on white paper I stare at a l l t h i s energy there eager and wary f o r the l i g h t l i g h t l i g h t i n t h i s white haze - 47 -WHAT IS IT What i s i t she gathers i n the night? I see she i s d i f f e r e n t i n the morning. Her head of yellow h a i r on the p i l l o w her l i t t l e face when I turn on the l i g h t . Her st r a i g h t eyebrows are not the lady I abandon to sleep i n the night before - 48 -ED DOPJT You did not think to presume to t e l l any l i e s about i t but only the poems out of the t r u t h that l i e s i n things the distance that l i e s between things you t e l l t r u t h of. You speak q u i e t l y of r e s t i n g things your voice r e s t i n g among Montana f l a t s and Idaho mountains a l l the change i n things you speak t r u t h of your change i n view. You t r a v e l thru changes and bring t h e i r t r u t h you do not presume - 49 -IN YOUR YELLOW HAIR - f o r H.D. In your yellow h a i r the long comb strokes are s i l e n t . There i s the f l e x of your elbow i n and out of the l i g h t . The mirror catches l i g h t and puts i t back quiet to the yellow pouring thru the comb. In the edge of dark-ness I am there home to see you unmarred quiet i n your act l i g h t repose i n the f a c t . - 50 -RIME OP OUR TIME Here i s Angela's h a i r on the side of my face; love as clean and s o f t as i t i s immediate to me.. Two heads on a p i l l o w faces to-gether eyes closed or open, i n the dark. Time i s on our side now no t r i c k to s c r u t i n i z e but behind us days. Accumulating sounds we make i n our sleep, our dreams of one another seen. - 51 -LOVE & WAR IS KIND If I win you are my victory vanquished we w i l l be i n the same f i e l d of honor holding to the same banner - 52 -THE CRITICS Dwight Eisenhower said modern a r t looks l i k e someone drove over i t with a t i n l i z z i e N i k i t a Khrushchev said i t lookt l i k e paint knockt on canvas with a jackass t a i l There i s no war here of ideas only a difference i n c r i t i c a l terms one set i n American know how the other i n agrarian r e v o l t - 53 -THE DANCE COMPLETE To "begin h e ' l l place h i s feet between the music and the ground, beat once, and walk on i t , across the music, i t s sound at h i s heels l i k e wings. But where i s he going? I t i s a d i r e c t i o n complete when he stops, furnished f i n i s h e d , sculpture i n the a i r . The music playing around him i n shapes he designs and we see, before they di s s o l v e . That i s form the shape of the thing f i n i s h e d . An eggshell i n the hand, warm. - 54 -THE YOUTHFUL MOTHER, A SHAPE UPON HER LAP I would t e l l him he was horn with the shape of death on h i s form from out of a womb pulled into h i s d e c l i n i n g years except he fears nothing not a tomb because he has never seen one. And he can not remember the pain h i s mother shared with him. - 55 -MY GARDEN My garden then of radishes without agri-culture hut a growth of their own direction accomodating to stones and the rainy season Placed there as pellets by my hand now push out of the ground carrying seeds - 56 -FOREST FIRE SUMMER I t was not the smoke but : the hard axe handle i n the s l i p p e r y hands from c a l l u s e s broken open as the axe banged o f f a hidden rock. Forest f i r e s t e l l on a man's endurance, the bent muscles i n h i s back, the blood between h i s f i n g e r s , the sweat on h i s eyeballs. I t i s the people i n the movie theater who w i l l see the red flames and b i l l o w i n g smoke, the great acres of f o r e s t from a passing plane. - 57 -VANCOUVER ETUDE This l i n e , so — there: shore and a dab of blue: a patch of sky-above mountains Do the sun s l i d i n g down snow slopes to the sea Can you imagine? snow i n A p r i l however — t r i a n g l e s of l i g h t f o r boats braving the i n l e t t r y i n g the f i r s t wind of the year — there: blocks of brown gray dark green — buildings backed up from the ocean Put the paint on th i c k f o r Spring some pink f o r cherry blossoms - 58 -— red f o r blood flowing thru every one clouds u n r o l l i n g back to the outer islands Put i n yellow my f a v o r i t e color please f o r nothing Put i n the a l l outdoors the.forest f i r e s of summer the farm floods — frogs on the grass pigeons pigeons pigeons pigeons f l a p p i n g the a i r Put i n the a i r paint with both hands brushes f u l l of color Paint the great r e t u r n of holy cathedral mountain sunlight burning down warm and b r i l l i a n t a l l the sea s i l l y day! - .59 -BRAVE HORSE BREAM The horse with h i s t a i l •in my soup guffawing loudly to my surprise automatically winced when I l i f t e d my spoon be-cause the sky f i l l e d with'stars i n an instant And the v i o l i n s i n the next room whinnied thru the open door r i p p l i n g the soup the window curtains and the horse's t a i l flew behind him out thru the door and down into the dungy stre e t ( a f t e r Louise Bogan) - 60 -from FOR WCW Language l i f t e d out of the ordinary into the i l l u m i n a t i o n of poetry. Objects: s t i c k s & stones coming together you place before our eyes exposed bare to the weather rained on and crackt dry i n the sun A s t i c k a stone a r i v e r c u t t i n g thru clay a white barn i n a f i e l d a cat c o i l e d on a box Words coming together moving at one another t r a c t i o n f o r the tongue Look at that! American language shouting across the Potomac r i n g coins over the r i v e r - 61 -open out Western states — any where a man can hear h i s voice In the machinery of Paterson r a t t l i n g ten m i l l i o n words a day a voice moves physical — not understood as l i t e r a r y , hut moving as a machine, with t r a c t i o n f i t t i n g i t s e l f against resistance — Song understood hy the hanging ear 2. A sparrow balances i n the wind v o i c i n g song into the s h i f t i n g a i r I t i s a small thing hut b i g as a l l cr e a t i o n to i t s mate beside i t on the wire, balancing - 62 -The wind blows the wire snaps underfoot the feet hold the feathers have no time to compose themselves I t i s as i t should be or as i t i s 3. I heard he askt the excavators f o r a boulder dumpt i n h i s fro n t yard They must have thought he was some old nut I mean you dig a boulder out of the ground you dont leave i t i n your f r o n t yard I mean what good i s a b i g rock? a l l you can do i s look at i t or lean on i t - 63 -I mean i f youve got a l a w n youve got to mow around the damn t h i n g and c l i p the b l o o d y g r a s s I mean I hear he used to be a d o c t o r w h a t ' d he do w i t h the g a l l s t o n e s he c u t out put them on the mant le? BIBLIOGRAPHY - 65 -A l l e n , Donald M. (ed.). The New American Poetry 1945-1960. New York, 1960. Creeley, Robert. Por Love. New York, 1962. D J o o l i t t l e j , H J i l d a ] . Selected Poems. New York, 1957. Dorn, Edward. "What I See In The Maximus Poems (1)," Kulchur, I, i v (Winter 1961-62), 31-44. Duncan, Robert. "Ideas Of The Meaning Of Porm," Kulchur, I, i v (Winter 1961-62), 60-74. . The Opening Of The F i e l d . New York, 1960. Levertov, Denise. The Jacob's Ladder. New York, 1961. Olson, Charles. C a l l Me Ishmael. New York, 1958. . The Distances. New York, 1960. . "Human Universe," Evergreen Review, I I , v (Summer 1958), 88-102. . The Maximus Poems. New York, 1960. . Mayan L e t t e r s . Mallorca, 1953. Pound, Ezra. ABC Of Reading. London, 1961. . (ed.). Active Anthology. London, 1933. : . The Cantos. London, 1954. - 66 -Pound, Ezra. L i t e r a r y Essays. London, 1954. Sapir, Edward. Culture, Language, And P e r s o n a l i t y : Selected  Essays, ed. David G. Mandelhaum. U n i v e r s i t y of C a l i f o r n i a , 1957. . Language. New York, 1921. -Y/illiams, William Carlos. Coll e c t e d Essays. New York, 1954. . The Desert Music. New York, 1954. • I Wanted To Write A Poem. Boston, 1958. —'• ' • Journey To Love. New York, 1955. • • Paterson (I-IV). New York, 1-951. Zukofsky, Louis. "Five Statements For Poetry (I—III),-" Kulchur, I I , v i i (Autumn 1962), 63-84. ; . "Five Statements For Poetry (IV)," Kulchur, I I , v i i i (Winter 1962-63), 75-85. 

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