“For a Coming Extinction”
Now that we are sending you to The End
That great god
That we who follow you invented forgiveness
And forgive nothing
I write as though you could understand
And I could say it
One must always pretend something
Among the dying
When you have left the seas nodding on their stalks
Empty of you
Tell him that we were made
On another day
The bewilderment will diminish like an echo
Winding along your inner mountains
Unheard by us
And find its way out
Leaving behind it the future
When you will not see again
The whale calves trying the light
Consider what you will find in the black garden
And its court
The sea cows the Great Auks the gorillas
The irreplaceable hosts ranged countless
And fore-ordaining as stars
Join your word to theirs
That it is we who are important
The Hatred of Music by Pascal Quignard, translated by Matthew Amos and Fredrik Rönnbäck, Yale Margellos World Republic of Letters (Yale University Press). Published March 2016.
The Hatred of Poetry by Ben Lerner, FSG. Out June 7, 2016. Read an excerpt in the April 2016 issue of Poetry magazine (not yet online, but will eventually be here).
I tried to scratch up a few lines on rereading William Gaddis’s novel The Recognition this afternoon, but distracted myself by remembering this poem of Tom Clark’s (collected in Paradise Resisted) which is an oblique summary of said novel (or not. Why should it be? It isn’t. There’s only my will here, trying to organize these keystrokes into thoughts of some order. Happy Friday).
From On the Slain Collegians: Selections from the poems of Herman Melville. Edited, and with woodcuts by Antonio Frasconi. Noonday Press, 1971.