Monthly Archives: August 2009

Aug. 31, 2009 The Wind Blows Through the Doors of my Heart

Dear readers,

as of the beginning of this new academic year, one in which I am strangely not on an academic schedule, Monday’s Verse will with any luck resume its regular course of publishing. Thanks for your patience throughout the long and rainy summer.
This lyric, by a poet who died too young this spring, really doesn’t need much of an introduction. Deborah Digges taught at Tufts and was an award-winning poet, although she published only four books of verse during her lifetime. She died after apparently committing suicide by jumping from the top of a sports stadium on the UMass-Amherst campus, at age 59. On the occasion, her Tufts colleague Lee Edelman said that Ms. Digges wrote “with a passionate intelligence that never lost sight of the complexities of experience or of the unfinished business with which we all live.”
The following poem is the title piece from her forthcoming collection. I say that it does not need much of an intro (although, as always, we welcome comments and reaction) because I think you can read it yourself and then try to figure out why tears have suddenly sprung from your eyes. -ed.
The wind blows
through the doors of my heart.
It scatters my sheet music
that climbs like waves from the piano, free of the keys.
Now the notes stripped, black butterflies,
flattened against the screens.
The wind through my heart
blows all my candles out.
In my heart and its rooms is dark and windy.
From the mantle smashes birds’ nests, teacups
full of stars as the wind winds round,
a mist of sorts that rises and bends and blows
or is blown through the rooms of my heart
that shatters the windows,
rakes the bedsheets as though someone
had just made love. And my dresses
they are lifted like brides come to rest
on the bedstead, crucifixes,
dresses tangled in trees in the rooms
of my heart. To save them
I’ve thrown flowers to fields,
so that someone would pick them up
and know where they came from.
Come the bees now clinging to flowered curtains.
Off with the clothesline pinning anything, my mother’s trousseau.
It is not for me to say what is this wind
or how it came to blow through the rooms of my heart.
Wing after wing, through the rooms of the dead
the wind does not blow. Not the basement, no wheezing,
no wind choking the cobwebs in our hair.
It is cool here, quiet, a quilt spread on soil.
But we will never lie down again.

Monday’s Verse, Tuesday August 18, 2009.

I swear to G-O-D that contemporary American letters would not exist without the G.I. Bill. The Times today carried the obituary of teacher, editor, and essayist Richard Poirier, who died at the age of 83. After serving in WWII, Poirier returned to Massachusetts, where he attended Amherst through the G.I. Bill (Robert Frost was teaching there at the time), and then went on to, oh, Yale, Cambridge, and Harvard. He later founded the Raritan Review, which has published a bunch of poets I’ve heard of, and some poets I haven’t. Among the latter is this week’s contributor, Richard Howard. My Uncle Larry always said never trust a guy with two first names, but I like the line repetitions here anyway. Anyone know what this from is called? I ask because I genuinely don’t–I’m pretty sure even my remaining brain cells no longer function too good.

Have a great week, -ed.

Like Most Revelations

(after Morris Louis)

It is the movement that incites the form,
discovered as a downward rapture--yes,
it is the movement that delights the form,
sustained by its own velocity.  And yet

it is the movement that delays the form

while darkness slows and encumbers; in fact
it is the movement that betrays the form,
baffled in such toils of ease, until

it is the movement that deceives the form,
beguiling our attention--we supposed

it is the movement that achieves the form.
Were we mistaken?  What does it matter if

it is the movement that negates the form?
Even though we give (give up) ourselves
to this mortal process of continuing,

it is the movement that creates the form.