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na, mula noong 24 Enero, 2006, ang nakitambay dito
Four Poems by Jack Gilbert
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Tear It Down
We find out the heart only by dismantling what the heart knows. By redefining the morning, we find a morning that comes just after darkness. We can break through marriage into marriage. By insisting on love we spoil it, get beyond affection and wade mouth-deep into love. We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars. But going back toward childhood will not help. The village is not better than Pittsburgh. Only Pittsburgh is more than Pittsburgh. Rome is better than Rome in the same way the sound of raccoon tongues licking the inside walls of the garbage tub is more than the stir of them in the muck of the garbage. Love is not enough. We die and are put into the earth forever. We should insist while there is still time. We must eat through the wildness of her sweet body already in our bed to reach the body within that body.
Suddenly this defeat. This rain. The blues gone gray And the browns gone gray And yellow A terrible amber. In the cold streets Your warm body. In whatever room Your warm body. Among all the people Your absence The people who are always Not you.
Failing and Flying
Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew. It’s the same when love comes to an end, or the marriage fails and people say they knew it was a mistake, that everybody said it would never work. That she was old enough to know better. But anything worth doing is worth doing badly. Like being there by that summer ocean on the other side of the island while love was fading out of her, the stars burning so extravagantly those nights that anyone could tell you they would never last. Every morning she was asleep in my bed like a visitation, the gentleness in her like antelope standing in the dawn mist. Each afternoon I watched her coming back through the hot stony field after swimming, the sea light behind her and the huge sky on the other side of that. Listened to her while we ate lunch. How can they say the marriage failed? Like the people who came back from Provence (when it was Provence) and said it was pretty but the food was greasy. I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell, but just coming to the end of his triumph
The Forgotten Dialect Of The Heart
How astonishing it is that language can almost mean, and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say, God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according to which nation. French has no word for home, and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people in northern India is dying out because their ancient tongue has no words for endearment. I dream of lost vocabularies that might express some of what we no longer can. Maybe the Etruscan texts would finally explain why the couples on their tombs are smiling. And maybe not. When the thousands of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated, they seemed to be business records. But what if they are poems or psalms? My joy is the same as twelve Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light. O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of copper, as grand as ripe barley lithe under the wind's labor. Her breasts are six white oxen loaded with bolts of long-fibered Egyptian cotton. My love is a hundred pitchers of honey. Shiploads of thuya are what my body wants to say to your body. Giraffes are this desire in the dark. Perhaps the spiral Minoan script is not laguage but a map. What we feel most has no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and birds.
And an excerpt from an interview:
"...Much of postmodern poetry has no significance at all. Unless you like puzzles. Unless you can figure out what the thing is about. The point is not to mystify the reader but to trick the reader into feeling something, knowing something. And this whole absurdity about doubting the "I" in poetry I don't understand at all. The "I" is the source of communication of things that matter. At least, that's what I feel. I want to trust the speaker of the poem. It's like biting into gold, to see if it's true metal. Poets work by insight, not by cleverness. If not through inspiration, then through intuition. Not by mechanics or examining the nature of the way someone seeing something encounters something. In much postmodern poetry the eyeball follows a certain little trail and then translates what it sees back into something else, proclaiming then, "Yes that is a dog." What the hell good is that? If you're scientifically inclined, it's wonderful. It's an extraordinary science of cognition, but it's nothing that has anything to do with my life emotionally, and if it's not emotional what does it offer? It can offer beauty, perhaps, if you're interested in that. It's nice, but it's not going to change your life. Telling a story is very nice, but unless the thing, the novel, the short story does something to you as a person, then it's just another artifact....
"I believe we are made by art, art that matters. Not what's ingenious, clever, or hard to read. Not a mystery puzzle. I think if a poem doesn't put emotional pressure on me, I don't feel uncomfortable in the sense of feeling more than I can feel, understanding more than I can understand, loving more than I am able to be in love. Real poetry enables me for that."