[ Death ]

August 9, 2012

Keep to your cabins. You do assist the storm.
—The Tempest

A searchlight of the soul and soil—
yet today vultures circle far above our heads
and the monks have started to chant
his predictions. It is as if he died
for song and beer, or for hidden treasure.
But suppose he died because he could do nothing else.
There is blood on his cushion.
Suppose he died for its rainbow.

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3 Responses to “[ Death ]”

  1. extrasimile Says:

    John: You are quite right to view the 3 poems (now 4) as a group. The central focus, though, is not really the Tempest. Right now, I’m only using the Tempest as a kind of counterpoint to the Cold Mountain poems. I admire Cold Mountain as much as I do any poet, but this doesn’t preclude my being irreverent towards him (them?: Tom D’Evelyn made an interesting point somewhere in our ‘conversations’ that Cold Mountain might be a tradition of monks meditating in the mountains.) There are translations of Cold Mountain by David Hinton, Gary Snyder, Burton Watson, and Red Pine. I haven’t looked at Red Pine, but the others are I think fairly good. Tom is quite right when he points out that Chinese poetry was influential in the formation of 20th century English speaking poetry—via Ezra Pound. See Hugh Kenner’s chapter in his The Pound Era called ‘The Invention of China’. The Pound Era, by the way, is one spectacular book.
    Ply my subconscious with drink? He might tell me things I don’t want to know.


  2. Well communicated bits of darkness… Lovely!

  3. John Stevens Says:

    I’m reading these 3 poems together, linked as they are by the Tempest, by the form of the titles, and by the echoes of previous poems in the succeeding ones (boats, circles, birds, drink … and a storm in the background).
    I am deeply puzzled, Jim, by some of these lines – but I’m used to your way of writing by listening to subconscious promptings.
    It is so long since I saw the Tempest that I might well be missing echoes of the play as well.
    Never mind. There’s a quiet beauty in the lines, and I like the tone. In addition, the bit of my brain that obsesses about things being neatly organised is finding pleasure in tracking those cross-references. I like those linkages a lot.
    Where are you going in the next one?
    And maybe, in your next one, you might try to drag your subconscious kicking and screaming to the table, ply it with drink, and make it fess up to some of its doings?!


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