Friday, September 26, 2008

Reginald Shepherd

Reginald Shepherd died recently. Here: Reginald Shepherd's blog his blog lives on, and continues, with his voice.

here's a couple of Shepherd poems:

from one of my own favorite of Shepherd's poems:

Geology of Water

for Maureen Seaton

The sea grows old in it.
--Marianne Moore

Striated tides draw their lines
in the sand, leave them behind
in retreat. Warm layers on the colder
to blind indigo, strata of temperature
and color down to bedrock
settling, plates shifting in their cobalt sleep
to nudge the continents apart.
The sea grew old in me, the blood
as salt and turbulent, as unpacific.

There's someone who foundered there
and lost his way: he's in above his head,
out of his depth, he's been concealed
beneath his representability or gulf
stream. If I bend closer I can hear him
drown, a man made out of water
whose words arise like bubbles
to the surface: something survives
in every carbonaceous molecule, every

intermittent spindrift's punctuation.
Fossils compacted in the bluff's rush hour
say things change, but never for the better:
they've stairstepped four geologic eras just to stay
in place. Their smashed catastrophe theory confirms
some things aren't worth surviving. Evolution
croons its single song, come out of the sea,
my love, to me
, and never adds, and drown
knee-deep in air.

It's true: the sea grew old here, and here
it left its will to live, a testament
to what it couldn't take back, couldn't help
but keep. It drank itself and sank for good.
Wash that sea in me and wring it clean,
ocean to ocean till there's no water left.


Where the blue meets blue, where sky
meets the sky. Behind the white which hides
behind disbanded clouds, high humidity
at higher temperatures, holding it in, precipitation
imminent, but not today. We'll meet there. You
whom I have lied to, you to whom I've told
the truth, some version of turning
light. You can't be seen
through mere transparency, no
scene: something hidden in the here, unavailable
to sight. Blue into white and what becomes of it,
where silence becomes summer, there where summer
wouldn't wait. You were waiting, air
full of unfallen rain. You say this, you say that, nothing
I understand: I hold light in one hand, a prism
or this unrequited reticence, your
onehow, anywhen, all elegy and distance, and away.
And still say come this way again, tomorrow or the day
before, once then, where last,
or any time at all. Fire, lamp and lantern,
wander me, scattering glass.

Monday, September 22, 2008

from Spring and All by Wm. Carlos Williams

The rose is obsolete
but each petal ends in
an edge, the double facet
cementing the grooved
columns of air--The edge
cuts without cutting
itself in metal or porcelain--

whither? It ends--

But if it ends
the start is begun
so that to engage roses
becomes a geometry--

Sharper, neater, more cutting
figured in majolica--
the broken plate
glazed with a rose

Somewhere the sense
makes copper roses
and steel roses--

The rose carried weight of love
but love is at an end--of roses

If is at the edge of the
petal that love waits

Crisp, worked to defeat
plucked, moist, half-raised
cold, precise, touching


The place between the petal's
edge and the

From the petal's edge a line starts
that being of steel
infinitely fine, infinitely
rigid penetrates
the Milky Way
without contact--lifting

from it--neither hanging
nor pushing--

The fragility of the flower
penetrates spaces
"...that 'beauty' is related not to 'loveliness' but to a state in which reality plays a part"

--Wllm Carlos Williams, from Spring and All
After having finished the qualifying exam, having passed, moved beyond, moving forward...suddenly september turns toward fall, toward each escape blinking along a continuum, sparkling, plastic, rest.