From ‘Pseudo-Clarities’

somehow nature

performs an alchemical feat—
it has genes to support this fragile structure
of unique experience—emergent property

of DNA;    it’s the senseless universe’s way
of becoming conscious of itself:
our eyes exist to help the universe

to see just what it looks like in moonlight
& in high summer;  our ears help it to hear
its singing in the night        its waterfalls

a million feathers ruffling in the dawn
with the passage of the new wind
nose to help it smell       mouth to taste

the endless sense of dumb mortality
the tricksters in the pickle jar; seamlessly
flowing into the cosmos—the breathing

I suddenly notice: chest expanding
and contracting    identical to the
breathing of the rain forest;  bloodstream

in all the world’s rivers; bones carved
from the chalk cliffs of Dover     dance
the shimmy of the moon’s dark side

the universe remembers your evolutionary
intimates:  zebra  coconut tree   blue-green algae
o carry yourself like a child of the universe




far beyond ordinary thinking
this grey morning in early spring of
the bold adventures of ideas you wake

into     beyond the incidental events
of mere living which you can easily do
into the charm of all those arty patterns

their constant convulsing variation
down all the glittering centuries—
their parallel insistent development

into which you dip your mind
for a refreshment     separate from
the pounds shillings and pence

of life   and at the end of the day
put all this joy of thinking to bed
in a different room & just dream


you the poet

your subject
is a sense of the world
inevitable & inexhaustible—

departing from it
you become artificial and laborious
even though the artifice be skilful
and the labour perceptive

you write about twilight
because you shrink from the noonday

you write about the country
because you dislike the city

there are stresses you invite;
there are stresses you avoid

a flat landscape    extending
in all directions to immense distances
placates you        but you shrug shoulders
at mountains
the measure of you
is the measure of your sense of the world

if you touch triangle or cymbal
it is because you feel like it

your image restates its subject
in terms of strident attitude

3 thoughts on “From ‘Pseudo-Clarities’

  1. Three wonderful poems that work together like a charm. Notice how the last line in each poem moves down and connects so beautifully with the first line of the poem that follows.


  2. Almost and maybe all the lines are enjambed even when it might feel like they aren’t, as below.
    “the endless sense of dumb mortality/the trickster in the pickle jar; seamlessly/flowing into the cosmos-the breathing”…(13-15). When we are in the presence of poetry that has achieved this high level of form, the lines blur between form and content, or as Eliot said, there’s nothing free and free verse.


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