ANAMNESIS: LOVE & DEATH - POETRY
S Walter de la Mare, 2pp. Be the first to write a review.
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For additional information, see the Global Shipping Programme terms and conditions - opens in a new window or tab. One of the most resistant images from my childhood, which comes to me from time to time, is the damp school corridor and the cleaning ladies who warn in a threatening tone: "Don't step here!
I intended for this title to be provocative, or rather, I embraced the provocation when the title came to me. It's one of those sentences that arrived in my mind fully formed, and it just happened to be rhythmic and mysterious—so I went with that.
Saul's Death and Other Poems
Leaving was a fix I'd theretofore regularly administered: schools, jobs, relationships—all quittable in the impulsive instant, provided you can live without care, money, or instruction. But divorce is a whole other kettle of fish. I'm a Virgo and I live for a plan, a list, knowing what is and what isn't. I'm also a sucker for love.
As a child, I would write lists imagining what my life would look like: a loving husband, two kids, a house, and maybe a dog.
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In the late s, Helen Adam wrote to Robert Duncan about "some pleasing weird collages" she had made, noting that her sister was ultimate arbiter of their quality: "I always know they would work if Pat says, 'No! I can't bear to look at them! My husband and I bought marigolds, beardtongues, and lavender for our yard.
For myself, I bought a single violet orchid, which I placed on my writing desk. I believe in elegies for the living. I believe in writing poems of praise for those we would praise while they are still with us. I have written too many elegies for the dead. Certain poets are like preachers in that sense, called upon to say the right words at ceremonial occasions, to praise those who are gone, to articulate some meaning for those who crave meaning. There is an inevitable feeling that the words come too late. This is a poem that began from a passing remark that struck me as simultaneously comforting and mystifying.
My son has a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, or high functioning autism, and throughout his childhood we've seen various doctors and therapists. I was raised in Utah, and had, a white evangelical grandmother. She described herself to anyone as a "born-again Christian. This was the year I stopped flying. After staying at a string of so-called haunted hotels, mostly by chance and then with acquired interest, I think I caught a ghost. I believe it happened at the Hotel San Carlos in Phoenix, where this poem was conceived.
I wrote this poem on my phone in someone else's house. I was feeling bored and kind of physically gross, like I needed a shower. I went to take a picture of the cat and the camera accidentally turned on my face, a contemporary occurrence that, to my horror, happens to me almost daily. I've always been scared of fireworks. As a kid, like many other kids in suburban New Jersey, I went with my family to the local park on the fourth of July to sit in a lake of seated people and watch the explosions.
When I was very little, my mother tells me, I was so scared that my flesh practically melted into hers.
Writing a poem to Norife Herrera Jones, a woman I never knew personally, was fraught with questions about right. What is right. Do I have the right. Some years ago, I got a call from my brother to tell me that my mother had fallen and, despite an emergency alert necklace, had spent several hours on the floor before firemen broke down the door.
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This wasn't the first time she had fallen—and her doorframe was permanently warped from other forced entries—but it was the first time we noticed signs of dementia. Like many of Ryszard Krynicki's poems, "What Luck" exists in several versions, and before I came to translate this one, I read the later version in which Nineveh and Pompeii are replaced with 'Warsaw' and 'the Betar movement', bringing the poem unambiguously into the 20th century Poland.
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The wealthy in Ancient Egypt had detailed guides to the afterworld, called books of the dead, inscribed in expensive papyrus in their coffins; if you were poor, you died without instruction, consigned to wander confused forever. Sometimes I think I've fallen prey to a client-server model of consciousness. Like I'm a web server and everything around me is a hit, an ask, a demand. I send back a slow-loading web page with a pile of paragraphs and some assets. I send back errors, evasions, interjections. Or I get the hit and I have nothing, I just stand there numb, counting seconds.
Maybe I'm resting. Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves, Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong. The stars are not wanted now; put out every one, Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun, Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; For nothing now can ever come to any good.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky Like strings of broken lyres, And all mankind that haunted nigh Had sought their household fires. The ancient pulse of germ and birth Was shrunken hard and dry, And every spirit upon earth Seemed fervourless as I. At once a voice arose among The bleak twigs overhead In a full-hearted evensong Of joy illimited; An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small, In blast-beruffled plume, Had chosen thus to fling his soul Upon the growing gloom. So little cause for carolings Of such ecstatic sound Was written on terrestrial things Afar or nigh around, That I could think there trembled through His happy good-night air Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew And I was unaware.