In the midst of planning a new sequence –drawing on my experiences in Northern California in the 70s and 80s and now in Oregon — I look back at my Pond Songs http://metaxysongs.com THOSE poems were written every Sunday for a number of years on a walk around South Mill Pond in Portsmouth NH. The texts I was mediating then included Emerson and Thoreau (and Cavell of course); the primary formal invention was rooted in my research in the classical Chinese poem and the philosophical texts relevant thereto, especially the Zhuangzi. The epigraphs were all taken from William Desmond’s work, usually God and the Between. I think they repay rereading. Now reading Milosz’s The Land of Ulro I understand a little more about the impulse behind the pond songs: a hinterland other to Ulro. He writes: “Ultimately, only a time measured by sacral standards, and not mechanical clock-time, can sanction a belief in the reality of things” (122). The mysterious connection between “sacral standards” and “the reality of things” is always already the point of writing a poem for me, as I look back and look ahead. Rereading Milosz and Levertov has proved very rewarding so far.
Pond Song 3.63
“We distract ourselves with ‘meaning.’” G&B 29 nature’s copia nature’s baroque__still hot air of August smudge of the morning moon__just enough clarity to lust after more but nothing doing__the pond offers a few numbers 4 cormorants 2 egrets 1 heron__the count changes of course driftwood gray satin stalker__did you croak just now a glint a still wet beak__a cormorant’s under his shadow this is that no longer holds__a still there dragonfly flows over the tall dry grasses__three bees roll in one rose