Briefly, James Merrill is a favorite and someone who’s been featured on MV many, many times before. I came across his name again, yesterday, because it was his birthday! 93 years ago, although he’s no longer with us (1926-1995).
Or is he? As we’ve discussed before, he was a ouija board nut, big fan of Yeats’ mystical poems/projects, and conducted many seances and automatic writing sessions. He definitely believed in spooks, and if spooks existed for him, why wouldn’t he be a spook for others? I mean, among spook believers, among which I am not.
I mention that because I think it’s what he’s getting at here in this short, recondite poem. The storm, the reeling candle, the ghostly passage… I couldn’t find a March poem from him, but April’s not too far away now, is it? -ed.
The panes flash, tremble with your ghostly passage
Through them, an x-ray sheerness billowing, and I have risen
But cannot speak, remembering only that one was meant
To rise and not to speak. Young storm, this house is yours.
Let our eye darken, your rain come, the candle reeling
Deep in what still reflects control itself and me.
Daybreak’s great gray rust-veined irises humble and proud
Along your path will have laid their foreheads in the dust.