30 April 2013

That's it? That's it--it's the 30th of April 2013 and the month was far less cruel than ever before.

I followed the prompt this time and was glad about it. The suggestion was to take a shortish beloved poem and rewrite it, line by line, replacing words with words that mean the opposite. 

I chose an old sentimental favorite, "Of Mere Being," by Wallace Stevens. It's possibly one of Stevens' most sentimental poems and I don't believe it was published until after he died. What's more, his daughter later complained that there was a wrong word in the poem (it's decor), but I didn't want to get into all that today. 

I had a noonday stab at it and then an evening stab at it, and I put them both here--they are so different. In the betweentime I did an N+7 noun replacement with the original, since I've been so intrigued by those interventions for a couple of months, and enjoyed the result at N+12. So I threw that in here, too. I'm missing my Robin terribly this go-round but am grateful for Alan Kleiman joining me and for the editor(s)(?) at NaPoWriMo calling out my blog. 

Until next year. 

(10 p.m.) After oblivion

The rhizome at the onset of body
before the first instinct, descends
on the blue-white floor.
A silver-scaled fish
is mute in the rhizome, all animal nonsense,
a mineral indifference, a local silence.
You forget then that it is the consequences
that break us, unhappy or happy.
The fish is silent. Its scales eat light.
The rhizome lolls in the center of time.
A fire quickens at the root.
The fish’s water-wimpled scales spark alive.

(Noon) On all death

The grass at the start of the heart,
before the first instinct, falls
in the gilt morass.
A silver-furred beast
chokes in the grass, with animal meaning,
with mineral indifference, a local silence.
You misunderstand then that it is the result
that makes us unhappy or happy.
The beast chokes. Its fur dulls.
The grass lays in the center of time.
The wall rushes quickly in the roots.
The beast’s water-wimpled skin rises.

The parent at the enquiry of the misery,
Beyond the last tile, roofs
In the bunch decor,
A grammar-feathered blood
Sings in the parent, without human member,
Without human fig, a foreign specialist.
You know then that it is not the reconstruction
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The blood sings. Its festivals shine.
The parent stands on the election of spell.
The wolf moves slowly in the breezes.
The blood's flash-fangled festivals dangle drink. 

Of Mere Being
      by Wallace Stevens

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor.
A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.
You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.
The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

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