Wednesday, November 15, 2017

emitting cat-calls as heretofore -


Marianne Moore

Man, looking into the sea—
taking the view from those who have as much right to it as you have it to yourself—
it is human nature to stand in the middle of a thing
but you cannot stand in the middle of this:
the sea has nothing to give but a well excavated grave.
The firs stand in a procession—each with an emerald turkey-foot at the top—
reserved as their contours, saying nothing;
repression, however, is not the most obvious characteristic of the sea;
the sea is a collector, quick to return a rapacious look.
There are others besides you who have worn that look—
whose expression is no longer a protest; the fish no longer investigate them
for their bones have not lasted;
men lower nets, unconscious of the fact that they are desecrating a grave,
and row quickly away—the blades of the oars   
moving together like the feet of water-spiders as if there were no such thing as death.
The wrinkles progress upon themselves in a phalanx—beautiful under networks of foam,
and fade breathlessly while the sea rustles in and out of the seaweed;
the birds swim through the air at top speed, emitting cat-calls as heretofore—
the tortoise-shell scourges about the feet of the cliffs, in motion beneath them
and the ocean, under the pulsation of light-houses and noise of bell-buoys,
advances as usual, looking as if it were not that ocean in which dropped things are bound to sink—
in which if they turn and twist, it is neither with volition nor consciousness.


  1. 1.) Glad Show Gala was good.

    2.) Hoo Boy is the planet pissed. Wouldn't we be? And, aren't we, anyway?

    3.) Answer: Quite a while ago.

    4.) Rhetorical Answer: "Nice day, huh? Hey; that's Tasty Stuff, there. Let's have some more."

    5.) Gunn didn't quite get into my personal poetry pantheon, but, Vroom.

    6.) “ 'You should be writing from life,' he tells her, 'from the depths of your soul.' ” Well, you know; those Northern European guys. Always going on about Das Ding An Sich, and Also Sprach Euthanasia, or stuff like that.

    1. Best dog poem ever: see again.

      I'll send you a copy of the new selected once I find it. Please?

    2. re "best dog poem" - it's very good - also i like

      "The Promotion" by James Tate

      I was a dog in my former life, a very good
      dog, and, thus, I was promoted to a human being.
      I liked being a dog. I worked for a poor farmer
      guarding and herding his sheep. Wolves and coyotes
      tried to get past me almost every night, and not
      once did I lose a sheep. The farmer rewarded me
      with good food, food from his table. He may have
      been poor, but he ate well, and his children
      played with me, when they weren’t in school or
      working in the field. I had all the love any dog
      could hope for. When I got old, they got a new
      dog, and I trained him in the tricks of the trade.
      He quickly learned, and the farmer brought me into
      the house to live with them. I brought the farmer
      his slippers in the morning, as he was getting
      old, too. I was dying slowly, a little bit at a
      time. The farmer knew this and would bring the
      new dog in to visit me from time to time. The
      new dog would entertain me with his flips and
      flops and nuzzles. And then one morning I just
      didn’t get up. They gave me a fine burial down
      by the stream under a shade tree. That was the
      end of my being a dog. Sometimes I miss it so
      I sit by the window and cry. I live in a high-rise
      that looks out at a bunch of other high-rises.
      At my job I work in a cubicle and barely speak
      to anyone all day. This is my reward for being
      a good dog. The human wolves don’t even see me.
      They fear me not.

      i conclude that the cubicle dweller of Tate's poem is worse off in his current incarnation - his "promotion" to a human life has not gone well - for two reasons

      1)his emotional needs were much better met in his life as a dog - Tate evokes this beautifully, and anyone who has loved a dog must be moved by this

      2)contrariwise, Tate's protagonist, looking backwards at his former happiness, has not yet grasped his current opportunity and responsibility for "the development of his soul", to use old-fashioned language

      see the Monty Python creed - movie excerpt

      my exegesis of the above: - see my comment at December 1, 2009 05:43 PM

      Tate's protagonist is reborn into human circumstances, but he is still reacting, rather than responding to, his current place in the universe -

      he needs to be reminded of the possibility he has to "shine"

  2. Read Luttwak's book on Strategy when I was practicing law. Analytic mind. May check out the book. May have applications at lesser levels.

  3. Good dog poem. May have to rethink the Gunn thing.

  4. And (assuming it was an offer to the general publik about the other poem), sure.

    1. Well, it's only been released in Britain for now, I'll keep an eye out and remember.

      Actually, I want to find a TOC to compare vs the Selected I already own. If it's practically identical, I'll just get you a copy of the one that already exists.

  5. TOC new gunn selected poems

    This Selected Poems, compiled by his friend Clive Wilmer and accompanied by insightful notes, is the first edition to represent the full arc of Gunn's inimitable career.

    i note that the notes are 80 pages long