Saturday, January 9, 2010
I’ve decided to make January’s Weekly Poem series all Kenneth Patchen, all the time—no particular meaning or reason in this other than my admiration for his poetry. Today’s offering is one of his beautiful, & beautifully transparent, love poems. There isn’t much I can add in terms of commentary, but I can tell you that there’s a recording available of Patchen reading this & 27 other poems: it’s Smithsonian Folkways’ release Kenneth Patchen Reads His Love Poems. I haven’t heard this, but I have heard recordings of Patchen reading (including a recording backed by the Charles Mingus band!) & I’m confident this would be a wonderful recording to have around—there’s really nothing like hearing a poet speak poetry in his/her own voice.
A couple of blog news items before we move on to the poem. I’ve become quite intrigued by the idea of series that appear in alternate weeks—I first started this with the Tuesday mix of my translations & B.N.’s poems. As a result, I think I’ll be doing a lot more of this in the future—I’d like to get a bit more variety in the posts, & frankly, I think in my case at least, the blog has to keep re-creating itself to remain vital. I don’t know all the details on this myself yet, so we’ll all have to stay tuned! The Weekly Poem series will continue to appear each Saturday, & I will (as you'll read in a moment) have a weekly Sunday series (or a sort); otherwise, I think I'll be going to the alternate week format as the rule rather than the exception.
The other piece of news is that Sunday will be more or less an off day here; I do intend to post a Photo of the Week (with a descriptive caption), & the Sunday post also will have a link to my poetry blog, The Days of Wine & Roses. This blog has a poem from my San Francisco days posted each Sunday—a few of these have appeared here in the past, but most of them will be new to Robert Frost’s Banjo readers. For those of you who haven’t visited there yet, The Days of Wine & Roses is the current version of a poetry manuscript I’ve been working on since around 1990; it may be a book at some point, but for now it’s a blog. Hope to see some of you there!
In the meantime, hope you enjoy the poem.
Wherever the dead are there they are and
Nothing more. But you and I can expect
To see angels in the meadowgrass that look
And wherever we are in paradise
in furnished room without bath and
six flights up
Is all God! We read
To one another, loving the sound of the s’s
Slipping-up on the t’s and much is good
Enough to raise the hair on our heads, like
Rilke and Owen.
Any person who loves another person,
Wherever in the world, is with us in this room—
even though there are battlefields.