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September 2, 2012

In some far corner of my mind there was a little echo of poetry that would, at odd moments, faintly sound into my consciousness, not quite discernible. I pulled down some books to find it out. I suspected Feinman for the culprit, and he was, with the first line, or lines, of his poem below. But other resonances seemed involved, entangled, so I pursued them to the next poem, part of poem, and line, which I present here in this post. 


Late Light
by Alvin Feinman

Gracious this candid pair of eyes–
I stir my cup, and let
the grain lie liquid.

Outside, the steam that rises
from tracks the gravel cannot hold
has entered a shade of the light.

Light I remember seeing
at a dry enduring stairwell,
an abandoned flight of stairs.


Modern Craft
by Hart Crane

Though I have touched her flesh of moons,
Still she sits gestureless and mute,
Drowning cool pearls in alcohol.
O blameless shyness;– innocence dissolute!

She hazards jet; wears tiger-lilies;–
And bolts herself within a jewelled belt.
Too many palms have grazed her shoulders:
Surely she must have felt.

Ophelia had such eyes; but she
Even, sank in love and choked with flowers.
This burns and is not burnt . . . . My modern love were
Charred at a stake in younger times than ours.


from Hugh Selwyn Mauberley
by Ezra Pound

There died a myriad,
And of the best, among them,
For an old bitch gone in the teeth,
For a botched civilization,

Charm, smiling at the good mouth,
Quick eyes gone under earth’s lid,

For two gross of broken statues,
For a few thousand battered books.


& from The Tempest, repeated in The Waste Land

Those are pearls that were his eyes.

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  1. Alvin Feinman: November Sunday Morning « Subverbo

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