Wednesday, June 2, 2010


A friend commented that a lot of my poems try to discover what remains after loss – of love, of beloved landscape. There is of course the inner beloved, and an inner landscape that never parts from us. One of my poems even used to have the title “The Landscape Within Me Is Not the Landscape Outside Me” – this became “Everlasting.” But in this post I want to focus on certain memories of wheat fields.

The first poem -- it's more of a fragment -- has been influenced by a late canto of Pound's that contains the passage 

what that lovest best remains, 
what thou lovest best 
shall not be reft from thee


What Remains

What is new will be taken away, 
but not what began before time began: 

the silence of Polish fields, 
a path of sunlight across sunlight –

then a rooster’s call so pure,
you know it’s from another world.

~ Oriana



So new I was still allowed
to run naked, I’d step

into wheat. The stalks closed
above my head.

Laughing I would enter
such a golden drowning.

Cornflowers. The sun split
into a thousand sheaves.

Memory has no past tense.
Laughing I step out,

a child clothed with light,
at the beginning of the world.

~ Oriana


W. S. Merwin has a poem in which he tells about this experience of timelessness, which for me is the essence of the magic of memory.

Still Morning

There appears there is only one
age and it knows
nothing of age as the flying birds know
nothing of the air they are flying through
or of the day that bears them up
through themselves
am I a child before there are words
arms are holding me up in a shadow
voices murmur in a shadow
as I watch one patch of sunlight moving
across the green carpet
in a building
gone long ago and all the voices
silent and each word they said in that time
silent now
while I go on seeing that patch of sunlight

~ W. S. Merwin, from The Shadow of Sirius

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