When after midnight, when poetry is always
nearer, I look out my window, and see the
moon of the parking lot light shine down
on the pavement, that is greased with the oil
of a hundred cars parked there by day, or
night; and I hear in the distance
over Lake Erie the hoot of a steamer or
train – then I know the spirit or silence
which permits poetry to be, has fallen over
the world and the mind; and a flood of
sister memories rise within my mind; or
upon my mind’s eye; or movie screen of
the soul – and the past is returned to me.
The glorious moments of the past, which are
few and far between; the dross falls away,
the agony of living is worth it. All the trying
moments of life are paid for by the few,
precious images that return. The New
Year’s Eve with friends, the darkened room
where fiddles played, bells rang,
tooted whistles over the river. Nothing
disturbs me, the coolness of a palace
stair, turned into a museum, the sunlight
melted through an upper window of
yellow gloss softens the balustrade,
and one’s steps return to a
Sunday afternoon upon its stone.
The gathering of friends within a room,
the softness of the moon, the greenness of a
tree, the flight of birds on the air, whirling
away through time, specks of song,
melody rushing to the ear, again –
the dawn alive with chatter; the crowing
of cocks, tolling of bells, rushing of tires
that is ever present in our towns and
The sad faces of friends; these haunt
the night. The words of artists; how our writers
neglect this now.
The sun seen over the sea; the very sea
itself, its waves forever beating on every
shore – how all of this is reflected,
in the moonlight of a lamp light
shining down on the parking lot, after
And how quickly gone, all time is,
when one’s mind leaves that little light
and returns to the room, where ironically
life is. Or is it, life at all? Or just
a simulation of life, under which reality
hides. The real hides itself under cover
of things; upon the mind’s screen lies
the true nature of things; there the
flux of time presents the objects
which endure; and persists in that
they return so quickly, when one is free
of the world and its demand. All poets must
exist within that space; there is no longer
any excuse. They must do so or die.
Even the necessity of economics must
not prevent this. Even if they must
die doing so. They must die, in pursuit
of this. For that is the nature of a
poet; and pursuit of the poet. If he
does not do this, then he is no longer a
poet – and by doing other things is
an other thing.
Even the pursuit of love is a hindrance
to the poet; the desire for food or shelter
all hindrances – only the pursuit
of food for the spirit, shelter for the mind, thought from the
spirit – all these must be experienced; pursuit for space
and the tenacity of thought is so tenuous
so fine that if lost if distracted
for a moment the thread is broken;
the memory shattered; the image lost.
Ah, the weary burden of a poet. No wonder
their nerves are strained like steel, but so thin
they vibrate in the wind to every nuance and cannot
be seen by any but the most experienced
eye. Ah, love that must be passed by in
pursuit of the poem.
Ah experience that must be
paused by, for experience of the poem.
Ah, paused by, listen to me again, sound to me, that I
may sing your song.
the only thing about this note is by the time the first
image was written of New Year’s Eve, or
the museum balustrade, the flood of
sister memories had disappeared
down the steps of “time”, back into the
mind, from which they arose – and
thus, this essay is living
proof of the evanescence of the mind,
or imagination. How fragile and
evanescent it is, how little retains,
remains, and how much is gone,
disappeared forever. Or is it? That
is the metrics with which I am con-
cerned. To return forever the lost mind
to its plane, which is fleeting and temporal, too
But which does endure in imagination.
The community of thought, host of angels,
they used to call it. Muses, or mother
of memory, itself. Not allegory, but
symbol, as Yeats and Blake used it.
Thus disregard the memory, and rely on
some other mechanism of the mind,
which presents image and does endure,
out of time, which after all, is only
an illusion of the mind. Or does
time exist, outside the mind? And
can create and destroy the mind, too.
Ah, sad, suffering destroying mind
that can create time, too; that is all I know.
the mind is all I want to know.
And need to know on the earth of man.
That is all ye need to know; truth and beauty
exists outside our minds.
“Truth is beheld by the intellect; beauty
by the imagination,” Joyce said
Not compte enough. The Known is never complete
enough. It is the unKnown which completes me.
For which I hunger. For which I lack
words. Or mind. Oh, complete me. Dictate to me
words of my soul. I have listened for you
long enough. And yet not long enough. The
moon is never complete. But partial
to our eye. I hunger for the lost side of the moon,
the new moon is the new meter.
As I lie in the dark, I dream of the future.
The contemplation of the past. My candles
have burned out; I cannot see.
Hunger breeds inspiration. When I am
fed, I do not create;
Lovers lie whispering next door.
Upstairs the poet walks on creaking
floors, after mid-night, his inspiration, their hands meet on the telephone
burnt out, his soul burned by flames he
Whence comes this thought, these
words. My words are dictated me, as if
on some unknown machine, they tele-
type across my brain. Not all of them.
The word is the only world; the world is only
a word; but it is more than it. It is a never
quenching flame, that can burn you out
and take all you have, and still ask for
more, plead for more quickly. It can
take every emotion you lavish on an object and exhaust it
so quickly that you fall dying on the
roadside; bed so quickly, you murmur,
only to rise again the next morning to
feed it again. To feed on you; feed on it.
That is the only answer. Be impartial,
cold to everything and it dies quickly.
But be cold and you die quickly.
for what it’s worth. A bad Sept 29, 1965
entry full of sloppy thinking out of tiredness.