Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Her Only Beauty to Be All Moose


Robert Duncan
Neither our vices nor our virtues   
further the poem. “They came up   
      and died
just like they do every year
      on the rocks.”

      The poem
feeds upon thought, feeling, impulse,
      to breed    itself,
a spiritual urgency at the dark ladders leaping.
This beauty is an inner persistence
      toward the source
striving against (within) down-rushet of the river,   
      a call we heard and answer
in the lateness of the world
      primordial bellowings
from which the youngest world might spring,
salmon not in the well where the   
      hazelnut falls
but at the falls battling, inarticulate,   
      blindly making it.
This is one picture apt for the mind.
A second: a moose painted by Stubbs,
where last year’s extravagant antlers   
      lie on the ground.
The forlorn moosey-faced poem wears   
      new antler-buds,
      the same,
“a little heavy, a little contrived”,
his only beauty to be   
      all moose.


  1. 0)that's a good-looking cat

    1)this is interesting -

    An economist explains what digital technology means for the future of popular culture -
    Digital renaissance?
    By Angela Chen

  2. speaking of moose, and of duck-like behaviors

    Like A Scarf

    The directions to the lunatic asylum were confusing,
    more likely they were the random associations
    and confused ramblings of a lunatic.
    We arrived three hours late for lunch
    and the lunatics were stacked up on their shelves,
    quite neatly, I might add, giving credit where credit is due.
    The orderlies were clearly very orderly, and they
    should receive all the credit that is their due.
    When I asked one of the doctors for a corkscrew
    he produced one without a moment's hesitation.
    And it was a corkscrew of the finest craftsmanship,
    very shiny and bright not unlike the doctor himself.
    'We'll be conducting our picnic under the great oak
    beginning in just a few minutes, and if you'd care
    to join us we'd be most honored. However, I understand
    you have your obligations and responsibilities,
    and if you would prefer to simply visit with us
    from time to time, between patients, our invitation
    is nothing if not flexible. And, we shan't be the least slighted
    or offended in any way if, due to your heavy load,
    we are altogether deprived of the pleasure
    of exchanging a few anecdotes, regarding the mentally ill,
    depraved, diseased, the purely knavish, you in your bughouse,
    if you'll pardon my vernacular, O yes, and we in our crackbrain
    daily rounds, there are so many gone potty everywhere we roam,
    not to mention in one's own home, dead moonstruck.
    Well, well, indeed we would have many notes to compare
    if you could find the time to join us after your injections.'
    My invitation was spoken in the evenest tones,
    but midway through it I began to suspect I was addressing
    an imposter. I returned the corkscrew in a nonthreatening manner.
    What, for instance, I asked myself, would a doctor, a doctor of the mind,
    be doing with a corkscrew in his pocket?
    This was a very sick man, one might even say dangerous.
    I began moving away cautiously, never taking my eyes off of him.
    His right eyelid was twitching guiltily, or at least anxiously,
    and his smock flapping slightly in the wind.
    Several members of our party were mingling with the nurses
    down by the duck pond, and my grip on the situation
    was loosening, the planks in my picnic platform were rotting.
    I was thinking about the potato salad in an unstable environment.
    A weeping spell was about to overtake me.
    I was very close to howling and gnashing the gladiola.
    I noticed the great calm of the clouds overhead.
    And below, several nurses appeared to me in need of nursing.
    The psychopaths were stirring from their naps,
    I should say, their postprandial slumbers.
    They were lumbering through the pines like inordinately sad moose.
    Who could eat liverwurst at a time like this?
    But, then again, what's a picnic without pathos?
    Lacking a way home, I adjusted the flap in my head and duck-walked
    down to the pond and into the pond and began gliding
    around in circles, quacking, quacking like a scarf.
    Inside the belly of that image I began
    recycling like a sorry whim, sincerest regrets
    are always best.

    James Tate



    James Tate
    The Wild Cheese

    A head of cheese raised by wolves
    or mushrooms
    recently rolled into
    the village, it
    could neither talk nor
    walk upright.

    Small snarling boys ran
    circles around it;
    and just as they began
    throwing stones, the Mayor
    appeared and dispersed them.

    He took the poor ignorant
    head of cheese home,
    and his wife scrubbed it
    all afternoon before
    cutting it with a knife
    and serving it after dinner.

    The guests were delighted
    and exclaimed far into the night,
    "That certainly was a wild cheese!"

    A passage from The Dermis Probe
    Idries Shah

    Several small boys were playing.
    They were throwing. from hand to hand,
    a squirrel which they had caught,
    and whose feet they had bound together.
    As they ran here and there, they roared with laughter,
    excitement and pleasure on every face.

    After a few moments an older youth,
    seeing what they were doing,
    ran up to them from the roadside.
    He took the animal and removed the cord from its paws, and let it go.
    The players of the squirrel-game were furiously angry now,
    and shouted all sorts of abuse at the older boy.

    a group of small boys appears in both accounts; the title character is a wild cheese in one, a squirrel in the other; the mayor in the first account initially plays a role similar to that of the older boy in the story of the squirrel; the squirrel resumes an unfettered life, but the wild cheese meets a different fate

  5. in the interests of emphasizing the parallelism of narratives about the wild cheese and the squirrel, i decontextualized the latter

    in shah's book the anecdote is preceded by a discussion between two spiritual directors, in which one asks the other why he forbids certain seemingly-innocent pastimes - the latter says, "notice what is happening here - it will give you your answer"

    later the former said,

    Had it not been for this demonstration, I am sure I would never have realized the relative situation and concealed dangers in what we assume to be legitimate pleasure. But ever since then, throughout my life, I have often found what appears to be desirable is being done at the expense of something else; and that what pleases people, even 'sincere' people, can be found to be making an appetite for an unsuspected vice.