Saturday, October 31, 2009
“The Bad Habit”
It’s All Hallows Eve tonight, & what more can you ask for from today’s Weekly Poem than that its author dedicated it to Edgar Allan Poe? This is the case with today’s poem, written by a poet I think should be more widely read, Charles Henri Ford.
Ford had a long career, beginning the lit mag Blues in the late 20s at age 16; not long after this, he moved to Paris & became a part of Gertrude Stein’s salon, where he became friends with a number of writers, including Djuna Barnes. He & Parker Tyler co-wrote The Young & the Evil, which Stein called, “the novel that beat the Beat Generation by a generation,” & he was the partner of dancer Pavel Tchelitchew until the latter’s death in 1957. Ford continued his work as poet, novelist, film-maker & general man of the arts practically until his own death in 2002.
Ford’s poetry is surrealist in nature, & he was aligned with the “capital S” surrealists as editor of the literary magazine The View. His poems certainly evoke the marvelous, with their uncanny imagery; they also often deliver a great deal of poignancy & feeling & the sense that the author is moved by the beautiful, even when the beautiful takes on truly strange forms.
Hope you enjoy today’s poems.
The Bad Habit
Drug of the incomprehensible
engenders the freaks of desire.
The bleeding statue, the violin’s hair,
the river of fire:
the blood grows, the hair flows, the river groans,
from the veins, from the skin, by the home of the child
pulled and repelled by Bloody Bones;
renewal of the swoon
mastered, the raw egg of fear,
doped with mystery, the hooded heart:
perpetually haunted, hopeless addict,
herding unheard of cattle!
Rider on the bat-winged horse.
Charles Henri Ford