The crocuses are beginning to open. Rhubarb is thrusting red knobs through leaf mulch. The cat stalks two fat mourning doves.
I open the collected poems of Jack Gilbert and read, "How astonishing it is that language can almost mean, / and frightening that it does not quite."
In an hour or so I will drive south, into rain. At dusk I will turn north again, into rain. "When the storm hit," writes Gilbert, "I was fording the river / and thinking of Doctor Johnson."
For the moment, though, crows still wheel and shout in the empty sky. It is not raining yet.
* * *
Tu Fu readers: Because I'll be on the road for most of this week, I'm going to ask you to take the lead on discussions of the most recent assignment (poems XXIV through XXX). Here are few possible prompts; but if you'd have something else you'd like to discuss, by all means bring it up. The first question is pretty straightforward; the last one is the most speculative. Follow whichever path you prefer.
What images do you like best and why?
Do the images seem to extend across the poems?
Does imagery do different work in different poems?
How does the choice of images help the poet balance the weight of the tangible against the intangible?