“You have to make an about-face and leave the poem, [Char] said to me, and this you must do at the moment of deepest emotion, when you belong to it most entirely and you are at your weakest. Yet the turning-away is unavoidable, and you must find the strength to accomplish it. Then, when you come back the next day, it is not the same, it is never the same, not possibly, because when you were most deeply involved you used your strength of will to separate from it.”
—René Char speaking to Nancy Kline, as recorded in “Meeting René Char” in Furor and Mystery & Other Poems
There was nothing else worth posting in the notebook this week (I was spending too much time blogging), so … here’s a fragment (or maybe it’s finished) from May of 2000—in those, ancient days before Dubya….
Summer mornings our street was a river
of elm shadow, pine shadow, shadow
of maple and weeping birch.
along a wire fence, lilacs rained
lavender on the shaggy grass.
You could hide among those leaves
from whooping Indians, Japs and Krauts.
You could turn your hand palm up,
and push it into the cool sandy ground—
then lift it, slowly.
Your imaginary, lilac-scented killings;
your shadow-soil trickling through fingers
outspread like the spokes of a wheel….