“For a Coming Extinction” — W.S. Merwin

“For a Coming Extinction”
W.S. Merwin

Gray whale
Now that we are sending you to The End
That great god
Tell him
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
And ours


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
Our sacrifices


Join your word to theirs
Tell him
That it is we who are important

The Hatred of Music / The Hatred of Poetry

The Hatred of Music The Hatred of Poetry

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).

“Suicide” — Langston Hughes


Robert Creeley reads his poem “The Ballad of the Despairing Husband”

“Beehive” — Jean Toomer


“First Fig” and “Second Fig” — Edna St. Vincent Millay


Bitter pill


e.e. cummings, 1926

“Entropical Question” — Tom Clark


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).

Kill them in their flush of bloom


From On the Slain Collegians: Selections from the poems of Herman Melville. Edited, and with woodcuts by Antonio Frasconi. Noonday Press, 1971.

“We play at paste” — Emily Dickinson


Misgivings (Herman Melville/Antonio Frasconi)


From On the Slain Collegians: Selections from the poems of Herman Melville. Edited, and with woodcuts by Antonio Frasconi. Noonday Press, 1971.

“A Time to Talk” — Robert Frost

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“The pedigree of honey” — Emily Dickinson


“Re-Statement of Romance” — Wallace Stevens

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Soft as it began— (Langston Hughes)

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“One Year ago–jots what?” — Emily Dickinson

“One Year ago–jots what?”


Emily Dickinson

One Year ago—jots what?
God—spell the word! I—can’t—
Was’t Grace? Not that—
Was’t Glory? That—will do—
Spell slower—Glory—

Such Anniversary shall be—
Sometimes—not often—in Eternity—
When farther Parted, than the Common Woe—
Look—feed upon each other’s faces—so—
In doubtful meal, if it be possible
Their Banquet’s true—

I tasted—careless—then—
I did not know the Wine
Came once a World—Did you?
Oh, had you told me so—
This Thirst would blister—easier—now—
You said it hurt you—most—
Mine—was an Acorn’s Breast—
And could not know how fondness grew
In Shaggier Vest—
Perhaps—I couldn’t—
But, had you looked in—
A Giant—eye to eye with you, had been—
No Acorn—then—

So—Twelve months ago—
We breathed—
Then dropped the Air—
Which bore it best?
Was this—the patientest—
Because it was a Child, you know—
And could not value—Air?

If to be “Elder”—mean most pain—
I’m old enough, today, I’m certain—then—
As old as thee—how soon?
One—Birthday more—or Ten?
Let me—choose!
Ah, Sir, None!

I have a bad cold – Fernando Pessoa / Álvaro de Campos

I have a bad cold.jpg

(Translation: Richard Zenith.)