Tuesday, May 19, 2009

And now, as promised, back to Donald Justice.

Remember I told you I bought Night Light at the Goodwill for 99 cents? Well, since then I've been slowly working my way through the book and have come to the unfortunate conclusion that I don't much like it. In the end it was too dry, too spare. Everything was exquisitely careful and well made, but a little sloppiness would have been welcome, a little tripping-over-his-own-feet excitement. One feels that he caved in somewhere, somehow; that maybe he let his aesthetic, not his own inner heat, do the talking.

Ah, well. I'm often disappointed by poetry. It's a wonder I've kept my finger in the stew all this time.

At least there's always Dickinson.

Poem 793

Emily Dickinson

Grief is a Mouse--
And chooses Wainscot in the Breast
For His Shy House--
And baffles quest--

Grief is a Thief--quick startled--
Pricks His Ear--report to hear
Of that Vast Dark--
That swept His Being --back--

Grief is a Juggler--boldest at the Play--
Lest if He flinch--the eye that way
Pounce on His Bruises--One--say--or Three--
Grief is a Gourmand--spare His luxury--

Best Grief is Tongueless--before He'll tell--
Burn Him in the Public Square--
His Ashes--will
Possibly--if they refuse--How then know--
Since a Rack couldn't coax a syllable--now.

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