Sunday, January 25, 2009

Aimless Reading: The B's, Part 24 (Paul Blackburn)

Blackburn, Paul
The Selected Poems of Paul Blackburn


I have a confession to make: although l watch a movie almost every day, I have never seen "Gone With The Wind." I alternately feel guilt and pride over not having seen it. Mostly, though, I feel a nagging sense of incompletion. This same feeling lead me to the purchase of The Selected Poems of Paul Blackburn at some point in the last two years. I think I remember buying it at Talking Leeaves, but I may have bought it online. Sadly, I still have that nag -- I have read a few of the poems, but haven't spent much serious time with his work. I love this first poem in the book, which I guess is very early work. It is to my ear an amazing modern revision of "Ode to a NIghtingale":

CANTAR DE NOIT

This bird speaks to me from the night,
From chilled autumn dark;
There is plaint in the song he makes
In his midnight field.
He remembers a sun-shaft smile
And soft air,
As I remember in my heart and
with my flesh
A smile that made the sundrench
Seem less bright,


Made my soul more lucid than
Any sunlimmed world.
And on my back, awake in a
Single bed,
This room without light, hearing
A bird speak
My flesh to me, I, groping
For the light switch,
Must climb out, struggle into
A robe, making
Two late singers mourning
A lost time.


*This poem also reminds me (a little) of Creeley's "The Whip."

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike!

Paul Blackburn's Collected Poems was available in bulk somewhere online recently. It's great. His final journals are wonderful.

ok: written in haste - but with all bests - after a long time out of touch - from

Tim

Atkins

Gary said...

You will love Blackburn! Of all people!

Michael Kelleher, Buffalo, NY said...

Tim,

Good to hear from you again -- I'll check it out -- I guess I should read what I have first in this economy!

Gary,

I know, I know!