Sunday, August 22, 2010

CHIEF POETS

IN 1932, WHILE SAILING FROM VERA CRUZ, MEXICO TO NEW YORK CITY, HART CRANE THREW HIMSELF FROM THE SS ORIZABA INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO. HIS BODY WAS NEVER RETRIEVED. SOME 70 YEARS LATER, I FLEW OVER THE GULF TO GUATEMALA AND THOUGHT OF THIS...

ON A PLAIN OF LIGHT AND AIR, AMONG MANY OTHERS,
I HELD THE CRIES BENEATH MY TONGUE.
"AN IMPROBABLE BRAIN WAS DROWNED DOWN THERE..."
"AN IMPOSSIBLE HEART WAS VANQUISHED OUT THERE..."
AND ALL THE WHILE THE MOVING OF TWO GREAT MACHINES;

"I AM MARRIED TO CLOUDS AS YOU WERE MARRIED TO WAVES..."

ON A BOAT OF MINUTES AND FATE, BETWEEN TWO LANDS,
YOU ABANDONED ALL AND WERE LOST.
"IF DRAINED ENTIRELY, I COULD SEE YOUR CORAL BONES..."
"IF DREDGED MERCILESSLY, I WOULD FIND YOUR BRINY SPONGE LUNGS..."
AND IN THAT FLASHING INSTANT, FROM ON HIGH AND FEELING LOW,

I SAW AND KNEW YOUR GOLD GOODBYE
SCRAWLED ACROSS THE SILVER-SCALED SEA.

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