March 15, 2006

Thom Gunn again

I'm in this weird zombie mode where work consumes my waking hours and any time left over is spent blindly staring out of bus windows or running in place on treadmills or surfing the internet for porn...its like my brain is filled with stale air or I've become Marcuse's one dimensional man.

Then its funny how that can suddenly change. Last night before going to bed I grabbed for some reason the volume of Thom Gunn's poetry that had been sitting on the nightstand collecting dust and turned to the first poem, called "Duncan," and read these lines...

When in his twenties a poetry's full strength
Burst into voice as an unstopping flood,
He let the diving prompting (come at length)
Rushingly bear him any way it would
And went on writing while the Ferry turned
From San Francisco, back from Berkeley too,
And back again, and back again. He learned
You add to, you don't cancel what you do.
Emphasis mine. That line caught my like a hook in the cheek and I almost started to cry for no particular reason, just the simple profoundness of it, solid but no more grand than a rock in your pocket. And say what you will of poetry--that it's dead, life has moved on to the visual or what not, but it is more like urban architecture to me, the best kind, avenues carefully arranged with the human psyche in mind, and suddenly you turn a corner on the page and the architect has inserted a piece of statuary.

Yeah, so I guess I should start carrying poetry around in my bag with me again.

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Posted by jason at March 15, 2006 10:54 AM
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