Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Robert Hass Poem

Winged And Acid Dark

A sentence with "dappled shadow" in it.
Something not sayable
spurting from the morning silence,
secret as a thrush.

The other man, the officer, who brought onions
and wine and sacks of flour,
the major with the swollen knee,
wanted intelligent conversation afterward.
Having no choice, she provided that, too.

Potsdamer Platz, May 1945.

When the first one was through he pried her mouth open.

Basho told Rensetsu to avoid sensational materials.
If the horror of the world were the truth of the world,
he said, there would be no one to say it
and no one to say it to.
I think he recommended describing the slightly frenzied
swarming of insects near a waterfall.

Pried her mouth open and spit in it.
We pass these things on,
probably, because we are what we can imagine.

Something not sayable in the morning silence.
The mind hungering after likenesses. "Tender sky," etc.,
curves the swallows trace in air.


1 comment:

  1. Possibly one of the saddest poems in the world. I can't say how much I admire it. I can't imagine what it took to write it down. But maybe a little. For what poet has not started to write a perfectly reasonable poem only to wind up in tears and howling at the end? The unsayable hammering away at your skill and skull and the awful need to say something keeps on insisting that you go deeper and deeper. It's summer and you're sweating. Or it's winter and you're sweating. I'm not saying this happened to Pinsky, but that's what happened to me the first time I sat down to read it.