“The prettiest are always further!” she said at last, with a sigh at the obstinacy of the rushes in growing so far off, as, with flushed cheeks and dripping hair and hands, she scrambled back into her place, and began to arrange her new-found treasures.
–Through the Looking-Glass
“As to poetry, you know,” said Humpty Dumpty, stretching out one of his great hands, “I can repeat poetry as well as other folk, if it comes to that–” “Oh, it needn’t come to that!”
–Through the Looking-Glass
Each human soul Without goal Is unwhole. Every condition Of historical mission Without an individual's kiss Is a mission amiss. Without the startburst Of a singular eye All sights degrade from best To little better to worst; The telescope suffers a sty That once held all universe's pride, And dull death slides From the wound in God's side. Without the insistence Of Love's wondrous indifference Each breath, all flesh Beats bereft --Life's limitless gift --Adrift--
Really the only medley that I like Is the medley the mind makes when all songs Have ceased. Surfeit of silence, Or so it seems, become a storm of drums, A vast catastrophe of cymbals crashing, So and so, upon memory minus remorse. The discarded songs, played through, had come To their melodious ends and settled hues; Absent amorous fingers fiddling on their strings, Untouched, they did not know what else to do After the final ting. Are they waiting, The songs, to be taken up, be played, be plucked With protesting recitations of gorgeous notes Back into existence? If so, if surely so, then song Did never have an end, nor is ended now As I hear in inner ear a medley most morose And happiest too to tell me what it is In a silence that sings through me like a song.
Is an imaged Word, an imagined Thing False that falsifies Reality-- Made itself of maybes in our uncertain clime? A clock of hairs grows boisterous Upon a curly mantle indifferent to ticks; Does this winsomeness rescind in a swish Starker clacks that tap the Reality of Time, Or 'tis it time t'was taught our make-believe Before it ever sauntered off the shelf To drive us will-hee nill-hee over hills Past our final ploys to final plots Springing green in Floridian retirement parks? How does the poem of apricot, bon mot, Go on being apricot in a grove of orange? Is this ripe, particular fiction Compounded, pat-pat, out of the real? Oranges or apricots, we ourselves go on Being our granular, indecisive selves, Daily twinges of one eternal twang, Niggling addenda adducing vast impossibilities, Long after the mirror's form informs each eye We are not what we were. What can one say With capable pronunciation? Let huzzahs help Tortured clocks to tick, apricots to drip Each imagined day into the reality of night.
To sleep is to meditate without a face, Or is it? Is it Anarch Unconscious, Or just a gown for the mind, for the self, A way to somnambulate the ichorous void In tiaras and swirls? A glittered hem Provides a border where the mind's the mind No more, and the essential dark consoles No more our crinolines and ribbons. The day's crested curl has rolled itself away.-- A place arrives where consciousness ends. ... And yet we look, we leer at it continually, Continually concerned that thisness Should end as that darkness should extend Out beyond the mind, beyond the gown of sleep Swishing its glittered hem like a cape, voidward Toward nothing, toward what, toward that, toward that That continually and perpetually Declares us by ending us, as the hem declares the gown; The petty grave's past tense makes present being great. No mausoleum trumps the pomp Of simple death. And so we take the complement with milk And go to sleep and lose our daily face, Touching the antagonist in dreams. We stand gowned, merely gowned, on the void's edge --Continually, continually Making our way toward the definite dark That dreams of us, perhaps, when it wakes, Taking its coffee and morning paper, Sampling the headlines with its grapefruit, Comfortable with one more dawn's gowny ends Obliterating inexistence.
The self-deceiving Eskimo Does not know what he does not know Nor knows he what he should Benignant of evil as of good. The Eskimo is bespattered by a vetting sleet That seeks to part his bones and meat That does not know that it does not know It dissects a self-deceiving Eskimo. Tethered together in all kinds of weather, Unaware of fate, the cold that kills,-- Eskimos ourselves benighted by a snow Of balmy blands whose meat and bones Undoes the ever-curious Eskimo.
Unremarked in fallowest fields one thing With picky panache Silhouettes the solitary bug Pivoting its spectral hues in yellower grass; One thing darts an engulfing eye Upon the minor life mimicking the swells Motioning the ups-a-daisies and downs With ups and downs of its own, internal candor --Insect in a day most nearly over. One thing, one eye Glances.
The honest man in the mirror, mundane topic, Sees himself. But not, not as he is, dwarfish Moralist in a vermillioned land, A hunchback crouching in a box. Oh no, Not that, not as--but as--he sees he as he Was meant to be. Interlocutor at large in a world Mad for prestidigitations, The gift of if and fragrant hullabaloo --The verisimilitude of seems, not is. He meets himself bending in a pool, His prodigious doublet washed off to skin, Misty skin, and rain in the rushes again Beating the mirror into silvers. He sees this, and sees still, with any eye Scrounged from any possible socket, The panoply, the possible panoply Of the yet to be.
The mind is portable, and its jar is gemmed With prinks of light that color what it is, How it sees itself and makes the world. The mind's not mind that consecrates its acts By pure formula without reference to fact, A mute maestro fiddling fortissimos of the sea. The mind's not mind that curmudgeonly contracts From dauntless dwellings on the abstract To rote particulars of minor fact. The mind is portable, but not without itself Or its jar does it go the world about, Packing up perspective freaks of circumstance Into abstract projections that rainbow a world, Articulate abstracts of that and that That adumbrate austerely the moiling void. The stars are projective gems of crowns That hemmed us in, and that we have thrown away Playing marbles with the void. Still, we see them, dimly, In the besetting dark, past projects of the self With the sun gone down and the night fresh as a wish; Still we wear them in our dreams as crowns, dimly, Effortless masters of fact in our jarring jars.