Measured Extravagance

2000-10-04 - 02:52:36

Instead of listening to the debate in Boston, I decided to reread some poems by John Wieners, a poet who (as far as I know) still lives on Joy Street in Beacon Hill. Several of his poems can be found in The Postmoderns, an anthology with somewhat dated biographical notes (c. 1982) but excellent editorial choices. Dipping to and fro in the collection, I ended up smiling at Frank O'Hara's "Why I Am Not A Painter" (poetry 1, debate 0) before returning to the ending of Wieners' "A Poem for Painters":

My poems contain no
wilde beestes, no
lady of the lake, music
of the spheres, or organ chants.

Only the score of a man's
struggle to stay with
what is his own, what
lies within him to do.

Without which is nothing.
And I come to this
knowing the waste,
leaving the rest up to love
and its twisted faces,
my hands claw out at
only to draw back from the
blood already running there.

Addendum 22 June 2002: Just read about Wieners' death earlier this year.

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